Hannah’s parents consider meeting with grandparents

When her dad came home, Hannah sat in the living room, surrounded by piles of wrapping paper. Ten years’ worth of gifts sat in front of her, the oldest sent when she was just a baby, and they’d all been sitting in the attic closet for years. Yet somehow, each and every item was something that was on her Christmas list this year.

Her mother offered no explanation other than saying with a shrug, “That’s my father for you.”

“What happened here? Did Christmas come early?” her dad asked, setting down his briefcase. He kissed her head, then sat next to Charlotte on the couch.

Charlotte put a hand on his knee. “She knows, Adam. About my parents.”

“Oh,” he said, then his eyes widened in surprise as her words sank in. “Oh. Hannah Banana, are you OK? How are you feeling about all this?”

Hannah shrugged, examining the packaging of a pottery kit. “I don’t know, Dad. It’s pretty weird.”

“Well, I can’t say I disagree with that,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a lot to take in.”

“They want her to visit,” Charlotte told him. “But …”

“But she thinks it’s too soon,” Hannah broke in, giving her mom a Look. “And of course, nobody cares what I think. I don’t think waiting 10 years to meet your grandparents is too soon at all.”

Her dad was quiet for a minute, looking pensive as he looked from his wife to his daughter. “Maybe it’s not too soon.”

Hannah’s excited “Really?!” mixed with Charlotte’s panicked “What?” and he held up a hand.

“Hold on. I’m not saying we should just ship you off to the North Pole right away. But I don’t think it’s completely out of the question. What if you get a chance to know them first before going for a visit? What if we invite them to come here?”

Hannah jumped up, bouncing with excitement. “Really? They could come here? I can’t believe it, Santa and Mrs. Claus, right here in my own house!”

“Adam, we should talk about this,” Charlotte said quietly. “You don’t know how it was with them, especially this time of year. They’ll be so busy, and I don’t want her to be disappointed, and …”

She was interrupted by an insistent knocking on the front door, and Adam stood up to go answer it. Charlotte looked at Hannah.

“I just don’t want you to get your hopes up about how a visit with them would be,” she said. Before Hannah could answer, Adam called from the front hallway.

“Charlotte, I think you need to come here,” he said, a forced calm in his voice.

Hannah followed her mother to the front door, gasping when she saw the small, pointy-haired boy from the photos standing right there on the front porch. Charlotte put a hand on her heart, her mouth dropping open in shock.

“Oh my goodness. Max! Is that really you?” She knelt down and wrapped the elf in a hug.

With a grin, she turned back to her family. “Max was my very best friend growing up. We did everything together.”

She turned her smile to Max. “I missed you so much.”

Max grinned back at her. “I missed you, too.”

Hannah could only stare with wide-eyed wonder at the living proof that the North Pole was really, truly real.


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