After Drew left the room, Sarah sank back slowly into her chair. He seemed so formal, distant. Oh, he had smiled and laughed when required, but she knew his moods. Something troubled him.
She was a disappointment to him.
After a moment, she realized she still held the letters that had arrived in today’s post: one from her sister and one from her mother. She placed them carefully on the table, smoothing out the creases with her hands. Mama’s letter rested on top. A phrase jumped out from the page.
I considered giving the bracelet to you, but under the circumstances, I decided to give it to Grace.
Under the circumstances. It was Mama’s delicate way of pointing out that Sarah had yet to bear a child. The reminder was unnecessary; Sarah felt the lack every day. She didn’t object to losing the bracelet. Grace was a lovely girl, and Sarah had never expected the bracelet to be hers, or even thought of it. But the letter was one more reminder of all she was missing.
She’d hoped this month might be different. It was Christmas, after all, an appropriate time to conceive if not to give birth. But it was not to be. She pressed one hand to her abdomen. No child rested there—she’d received the proof of it a week ago.
She brushed aside the letter. It fluttered to the floor—a sign of her hope slipping away. Even Mama, with her optimistic nature, had given up.
So had Sarah.
Tonight she would deal with the well-meaning comments. “Soon it will be your turn to have children,” someone would say. Or, “You’ll be setting up a nursery soon, I’m sure.” They didn’t know how much she wanted the statements to be true.
Then there was Drew. During their courtship, she’d known he was kind, wealthy, and well connected. She’d discovered other qualities after they married. He’d make a wonderful father.
He hadn’t reproached her, hadn’t said a word to suggest he was unhappy. And she’d said nothing, afraid to confirm his disappointment. But she saw it in his demeanor each month she didn’t conceive. Every man wanted children. A child was her greatest desire, the finest gift she could give her husband, the man she loved more than anything in the world.
She ached to hold a baby in her arms, a son with Andrew’s light blue eyes.
She pulled back the drapes and stared outside. It was Christmas Eve. Had Mary wished for a child more than a thousand years ago? Or had she been surprised by the gift of a baby boy who would grow up to perform miracles?
Snowflakes were beginning to fall. A small miracle. Sarah wanted another miracle, a larger one. She was far from perfect, she knew, but it wasn’t too much to ask, surely? If this one wish was granted, she’d never ask for another. She saw a star sparkling in the sky, large enough to have been seen in Bethlehem, and made a wish.
Please, God. Let us have a son.
All was silent as snow descended in gentle waves. Earlier flakes had melted immediately, but this snow was starting to stick to the street. She pressed her fingers to the window, felt its chill against her fingertips, and prayed for a miracle.
The Greatest Gift is part of Cobblestone Press's 12 Days of Christmas series.
Andrew and Sarah have almost everything they could want after four years of marriage--wealth, companionship, and love. What they don't have is a child. Sarah fears that the one thing she cannot give her husband may destroy their marriage.
The situation escalates at their annual Christmas Eve party, where Andrew sees that Sarah is pulling away. Together, they must decide whether to bridge the gap that divides them . . . or lose the greatest gift of all.
This story developed after I read a romance where the supposedly infertile couple has a miraculous pregnancy by the end of the book. I've read a number of these books over the years, and I've always wondered about the couple who simply cannot have children. What if they lived in a time when there were no modern infertility treatments? What if they desperately wanted a child, and their situation affected their marriage? How would such a couple find a happy ending?
These questions became the basis of The Greatest Gift. It was an emotional story to write, but it was ultimately a very satisfying one.
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. --E.L. Doctorow
A couple of my coworkers think it's very odd when I say that my characters speak to me. They are perhaps worried that it is a sign of mental illness. (Um, I am a writer . . .) But I have to say I treasure those times. That's when I know the story is going in the right direction, or that I'm learning something important about the character.
Take my current WIP (I really should come up with a title for it). I was writing along quite nicely when I suddenly discovered that my heroine has been getting hang-up calls. I had one of those, Hmm, this is interesting, moments. I have no idea who is calling the heroine, but I'm going with it. It adds depth and complexity to the story.
And those are the times I love--when the plot I've created becomes bigger through the writing. I hope it makes things more interesting for the reader as well. Now if I could just get one of the characters to help me with the title of the book.
I wonder who's on the other side of that phone . . .
I have a new writing desk! I've nearly got it assembled. It looks bigger than I expected it would, but it has bookshelves on the side, which is nice. I'll have all my books for writing and research in one place now, which will be nice. I'll post a picture when I'm all done.
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