Friday, December 19, 2008

Bring Him Home For Christmas

I saw this at this outstanding blog and if it dosen't bring a tear to your eye something is wrong with you. (A happy tear).

Dear Santa

Special delivery surprises soldier’s son

PORT CHARLOTTE — When Tina Wood took her children to visit Santa at the Port Charlotte Town Center mall in November, she never thought the experience would bring her to tears.

After asking for the games Hungry Hungry Hippos and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, 3-year-old Aidan asked for something that shocked everyone within earshot.

“He got really close to Santa, wrapped his arms around his neck, and said, ‘Santa, I have been a good boy and I help Mommy with my little sister and I clean up after myself,’” explained 30-year-old Tina. “Then he said, ‘Santa, can you please bring Daddy home from Iraq?’”

Since September, 27-year-old Sgt. Chris Wood has been serving overseas in special operations in the U.S. Army. Because Aidan rarely speaks about his father’s deployment, she was shocked.

“When he said it, it made me really realize how much this little boy is missing his dad,” Tina said. “I know he hurts, and he shows it in his own way, but he actually took the time to plan out what he was going to say to Santa.”

Tina took his wish as a sign that a Christmas miracle was in the works.

After all, only one week before the November mall trip, Chris received word he may be able to go home for the holidays.

“It was perfect timing,” Tina said.

Almost immediately, the mother of two went to work planning her son’s Christmas miracle, which came true Wednesday morning.

In front of dozens of clapping onlookers, flashing cameras and rolling camcorders, Chris hugged his little boy for the first time in several months.

Grandparents MaryAnn and Dave Mills escorted Aidan and his 3-month-old sister, Mazzy, to the mall, under the pretenses that Santa had called grandma that morning and had a special pre-Christmas present waiting for the little boy.

Expecting toys, Aidan walked to Santa’s photo line with wide, twinkling blue eyes and a smile that could be seen across the corridor. Only a few feet away, his father was hiding behind a black curtain in a FotoXpressions booth.

After waiting for his turn in line, Aidan climbed up on Santa’s lap.

“Do you remember what you asked me to get you for Christmas?” asked Santa, also known as Paul Gagnon.

“Hungry Hungry Hippos!” exclaimed Aidan, a response that received a lot of laughs from onlookers.

“What else?” Santa pried.

After another guess, Aidan grew quiet and finally said, “My daddy.”

“That’s it,” said Santa, signaling Chris. “And here he comes.”

Without delay, Chris emerged from his hiding place, jumped the fence separating him from his son and embraced Aidan.

As the crowd erupted into applause and tears, Chris turned to Santa and said, “Thank you. This was a really nice present.”

But the tears were soon replaced with laughter as Aidan exclaimed, “I still want the games.”

Looking back on the journey that got the family to this place, Tina simply smiled.

“This is truly a Christmas miracle, but more than that, it’s a story that gives people hope and what the true meaning of Christmas really is.”



Staff Writer

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