by Fae Rowen

I received my best Christmas present years ago.

My father went to Chicago on business the week before Christmas. He bought a fake-fur-lined hat that had ear flaps, along with a pair of gloves, and a heavy coat for the trip. It's the only business trip he ever took, and I was a devastated five-year-old Daddy's girl when he left the house in a taxi. I'd never seen a taxi before that night.

My mother had to have earned sainthood that week. All I did was ask how long until Daddy got home. I used to run out of the house when my dad drove in the driveway, home from work. He'd pick me up, ask what was for dinner, and carry me up the four stairs to the front door. Every day he was gone, I waited for him to drive up the driveway. My mother and I baked Christmas cookies for him. A lot of cookies, a batch everyday he was away. Amazing, I didn't eat any of them. I saved them all for him.

Finally THE DAY arrived. Because my mom didn't drive, friends took us to the airport to pick him up, so we didn't have to wait for a taxi to return him to us. I don't remember much about the airport, except my mom's hand holding my hand like hers was a vice. There were so many people hurrying, crying, laughing, and kissing that she was probably afraid I might get lost. And there was a big Christmas tree with lots of presents under it. An attractive nuisance for a five-year-old who wasn't there to meet her father.

Back then, the planes landed on the tarmac, workers rolled stairs up to the door, and the passengers exited down that long flight of steps. A rope held back those waiting outside for the travelers.

My mother's friends explained that my father would come out the door of that huge, tall plane, walk down the stairs, make his way across the red carpet to the outside of the building where everyone meeting their loved ones had gathered. Except, we weren't anywhere close to that carpet.

I watched each head duck through the door. Too many people left the plane. I was sure he wasn't going to come out. I almost started crying.

And then, I saw his dark hair duck under the door and he stood at the top of the stairs, scanning the crowd before he started down. I broke free from my mother's hand and ducked under the rope, dashing toward those stairs, yelling, "Daddy! Daddy!".

I don't remember pushing people aside, but I ran up the stairs and met him on the gangway. He laughed, picked me up and kissed me, then carried me to my mother, who stood waiting behind the rope.

Best present ever. I had my Daddy back.


Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes  that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.

P.R.I.S.M., Fae's debut book, a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, and love is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
For the first three months of P.R.I.S.M.'s release, I'm donating $1 for every book sold to the World Wildlife Federation for their tiger preservation program. Today, for our YA Outside the Lines readers, I'm giving away a free e-book of P.R.I.S.M. Just tell us about your best present ever. I'll post the name of the winner, randomly picked, after midnight tonight.


  1. Aww, what a sweet story! I sure hope you helped your dad eat some of those cookies when he finally got home.

    1. Thanks so much, Janet. I don't remember eating the cookies, but I remember his surprise and joy at seeing the containers.

      Congratulations! As the only commenter, you've won the free e-book of P.R.I.S.M. E-mail the details of where to send it.

  2. Aw, this brought tears to my eyes. I AM your mom so many days when my preschooler is asking for Daddy while he's at work.

  3. Nice Christmas story! I don't remember being wildly excited about ANYTHING as a little kid, with the possible exception of basketballs. It's like the line in the movie SABRINA, when Sabrina asks her dad what Lionel was like as a boy. Her dad: "Shorter." :-)


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