TG Universes & Series:
An Unusual Chanukah Visitor
Note: The transgender element is from previous stories.
It was the sixth day of Chanukah, the first day of the New Moon and Christmas morning. Maggie woke up first and because it was her third day off from school and the Christmas recess. She was raring to go.
Jumping out of her warm bed she adjusted her lavender Lady and the Tramp nightgown then put her furry kitten slippers on. She looked towards her sister, Baruchah who was still in bed still fast asleep. Baruchah was, as these two five-year-olds say, Maggie’s fat-turn-all twins.
“Not fat!” Baruchah retorted. “Mommy’s fat!”
“No she’s not!” responded Maggie before she giggled and ran off followed by Baruchah.
“I guess I could lose ten pounds,” Shelly thought out loud as she called those twins to eat their lunch.
If her husband, Steve had heard Shelly he would have asked his size six wife, “Where?”
Maggie smiled as she remembered the incident that happened as long ago as yesterday.
“GET UP!” Maggie shouted as she jumped on her twin’s bed.
“Wanta slee…” was Baruchah’s response as she drifted off again.
“Hey, sleepyhead, Sanity Clause is coming today!”
Baruchah popped her head up, “Sanity Clause? I forgots Sanity Clause coming today!”
With such an honored guest she had to get up. She turned to face her older twin and gave her a hug. Older is a relative term, but in the world of five-year-olds ten minutes is a big deal, especially when you “hab ta” respect your elders.
Baruchah adjusted her Kelly green Belle nightgown then grabbed Maggie as they ran out of the bedroom. They first used the bathroom because they knew one of their older sisters would hog it to take a “lazily bath.” Then they started on their mission of waking the rest of the household.
Their first victims were their four-year-old twin sisters, Barbara, and Raquel. The older twins woke them up quietly because little Michelle, at two and Hiawatha, one, also slept in that room. They didn’t really know how to change Michelle’s diaper and the one-year-old Hiawatha would be more of a hindrance than a help. Besides, those two younger pixies were better at waking up the family than the twins were. The four of them woke up their older sisters in the next room.
“Leave me alone,” Stephie cried as she pulled the covers over her head. “I had a date last night.”
“Mama!” Issey, Stephanie’s younger twin, shouted. “Those brats won’t leave us alone!”
Stephie, at thirteen, had been going out for a while with Sean, a boy down the block. His friend, Roger, was a little shy, but was willing to go out with Isabel. The boys had returned the girls to their home about eleven, so these twins weren’t too happy to be woken up at the crack of dawn. The good news was they went back asleep in seconds.
Now the bad news:
“But Sanity Clause is coming!” Rocky exclaimed as she shook Stephie.
“Let him come. I want more sleep,” replied Stephie as she did just that.
Barbara and Baruchah continued to try to wake Issey, but the older sister responded by throwing a pillow, hitting Maggie.
The little ones took the challenge as they understood it to be: “PILLOW FIGHT!”
The younger ones attacked viciously. Andrea, a year older than her early teen twins, also had her bed in the room. She was happily dreaming about her date the previous night and was lucky enough not to have been woken up until after the girls started throwing pillows. She woke when she was hit several times by Rocky several times with her plush doll elephant, Barber.
The noise of the fight woke nine-year-old, Kay across the hall. Seeing that it was a pillow fight she woke her twin, Karen Anne. Both entered their older sisters’ room armed with pillows, and because they were neutrals, attacked everyone as they giggled.
When the fight was over, the three older girls were awake, much to their dismay. The older twins looked at each other and shook their heads, “no” but were still smiling at the antics of their innocent, but still mischievous younger sisters. Isabel went from her bed to Stephanie’s, then the two held their hands out to give the little ones their hugs. A few seconds later, Andrea joined them in the bed and the hug suggestion, which was followed by the little ones getting their cuddles. The bigger girls leaned against each other so in a sense it was a giant cuddle party.
“Come on! Help us wakie the others!” cried Maggie after a while.
That startled the three older ones awake again.
“We’s gots ta get everyone ready fir Sanity Clause!” Baruchah continued.
“Oh, yeah?” asked Karen Anne.
“Don’t,” pleaded Stephanie as the little one climbed out of their hugs.
“They need their sleep,” added Isabel with a yawn.
“Yous gots ta come along,” Barbara pleaded.
“We got ta get ready for him!” Kay added.
The six babies were already out the door.
“We’ll be along in a minute,” Issey replied before yawning.
“Or two,” added Stephie as she closed her eyes.
“Uh huh,” agreed Andrea breathing deeply.
Or, in their case, closer to sixty as the three of them fell asleep still leaning against each other.
While Kay and Karen Anne went back to their bedroom to get dressed the smaller ones focused on the next oldest twins’ bedroom. Ally and Elsa had put a note on the doorknob that said, “DO NOT DISTURB,” but as luck would have it, the two littlest munchkins couldn’t read, and the two older ones were just beginning to.
“What’s it say?” asked Barbara.
“I’s tinks the last word is, ‘WELCOME!’” replied Maggie.
“Must say, ‘Come in, Welcome,’” added Baruchah, convinced her older sister knew what she was talking about.
Baruchah tried the doorknob and opened the door. The door squeaked loudly on its hinges as the four allowed themselves into their older sisters’ bedroom. At sixteen, Alison and Elsa also had dates, and to make matters worse for the invading little sisters, they had talked for over two hours with Andrea, Stephanie and Isabel, sharing all the details of what they did with their boyfriends when they got home.
“Wakie up!” the imps shouted as they entered that room.
“Uh huh,” was Elsa’s response as Ally just groaned and turned over.
“SANITY CLAUSE IS COMING!” Baruchah told Ally as she shook her.
“You still have smelly pretty on you!” Maggie told Ally.
“Uh huh,” Ally replied as she hugged that set of twins in self-defense.
“GETTY UP!” the other two shouted to Elsa.
Elsa’s response to the innocent troublemakers was the same as Ally’s.
“Please getty up!” was Maggie’s plea.
“Yeah, getty up!” added Raquel.
“Are you kittens hungry?” Elsa asked as the sleep fog lifted from her brain.
“Sanity Clause is coming!” Barbara insisted.
“Yeah, dat’s more portant!” added Rocky.
“Santa Clause will come later,” Ally explained. “He and his wife are guests at out Chanukah party. Our cousins and some of our neighbors will be there, too.”
“But we’s gots ta get ready!” Maggie protested.
“Let’s see,” Ally continued. “We have the geese ready for the oven.”
“And we’re making the latkes,” added Elsa. “There’ll be potato, zucchini, and spinach ones.”
“And the donuts!” added Ally. “Don’t forget the donuts.”
“Will he be coming too?” asked Maggie.
“Who?” asked the confused Elsa.
“The donut making man!” Baruchah explained.
“I don’t know,” replied Ally. “You girls want to help make the latkes and donuts?”
“Yeah,” the munchkins shouted in unison, making the older girls wince.
“Well, Ally and I will sleep for another half hour. Then we’ll feed you. Then you’ll help us,” Elsa explained. “How does that sound?”
“Want ta help ya now!” Baruchah responded.
Elsa sighed. She knew that her sisters would not let them rest until everything was done, but she still kept her eyes closed as she held her sisters close.
“Come on, Elsa,” Rocky implored. “Wakie up!”
“If you play quietly and let us sleep a little longer,” Elsa suggested attempting a compromise. “We’ll let you stay in the room.”
“No getty up NOW!” was Maggie’s response.
While that was happening Kay and Karen Anne went across the hall to the bedroom occupied by Angela and Amelia. These eighteen-year-old twins were the oldest children still living at home. Their dates had taken them to concerts in the city the night before and they were lucky their parents didn’t say anything last night because they came home after one in the morning. Kay and Karen Anne bounced on their sisters’ beds, which jolted the older two awake.
Angela grabbed Karen Anne in defense and said, ”I have a living doll in my bed. I guess I have to cuddle her.”
“Looks like I got one, too, Angela,” Amelia replied immediately after she did the same to Kay.
“Maggie and Baruchah and Rocky and Barbara are waking up the entire house,” said Karen Anne. “And we’re helping, too. They said that Santa Clause is coming to visit.”
“Yeah, and they will come when everyone else is coming,” Angela replied.
“But we have to get ready,” Kay insisted.
“We will, but we had dates last night,” Angela noted. “And I’m still dreaming about my handsome dreamboat.”
“Then we’ll wake up mommy and daddy,” Kay claimed as she started to get out of the bed. “Come Karen Anne.”
“Please don’t” Amelia pleaded. “They said they were going to try to make another brother or sister.”
“They’re going to do some magic?” Kay curiously asked.
“The magic will be in their eyes,” replied Amelia.
“Don’t understand,” Karen Anne said after thinking about what Amelia said.
“You will start to in about two years,” Angela explained.
“Anodder, ‘when you get older,’ Karen,” Kay noted.
“But don’t rush it,” Amelia continued. “Being a kid is fun.”
While the six were doing their hardest to wake the entire house, Michelle woke in her crib.
She was happily playing for a few minutes with her plush dolls when she heard a tiny voice call out, “Shell!”
Looking over to the crib next to her she saw her younger brother, Hiawatha who told her, “Stuffys!”
That was the signal for them to throw all their stuffys into each other’s crib. They were laughing and had a grand time, but sometimes the stuffed doll didn’t reach the other crib. Eventually all the toys were on the floor.
Hiawatha knew that there was only one cure for that, “Waaaaaa!”
Michelle held her ears before helping her brother with her similar cry for help.
In the bedroom down the hall, their parents, Steve, who is also called Norman in the extended family, and Shelly heard the crying. After groaning awake, Shelly tried to get herself up.
“Let one of the other kids take care of them,” Steve told her as he tried to keep her in bed.
“They had dates and were up to all hours,” she replied.
“But we were up to all hours, too,” he complained.
“It was my job to keep you up,” she told him as she put her leg over the right spot to emphasize the point. “But our littlest ones need us, and I might as well make breakfast for the children.”
And with that, she got up, put on her robe and headed to the source of the crying. Despite being just as tired, Steve was only a few steps behind her. When they got to the room they saw Karen Ann taking Hiawatha out of his crib and Kay taking out Michelle. Both girls checked the babies’ diapers. The girls’ scrunched up noses told their parents that they had a doody to perform.
As Shelly and Steve went to take care of their children, Karen and Kay both said, “I want to do it.”
“How about this, kids,” Steve suggested. “I’ll stay here to help you if you need it while mommy starts breakfast.”
“OK,” the twins agreed as they proceeded to clean their siblings.
“Where are Barbara and Raquel?” Steve asked when he saw the beds empty.
“They’re helping Maggie and Baruchah wake up the house,” Kay replied.
“Why are they doing that?” he asked, not really wanting to know.
“’Cause Santa Clause is coming,” Karen explained.
“He’s coming when the other guests arrive,” he explained.
“But we have to get ready,” Karen noted.
“We have plenty of time,” Steve insisted. “Most of the guests won’t be arriving until 2 PM. Some like your sister, Rachel, and Aunt Janet will be here early to help. And you can see your sisters’ dates cause they are all invited, including their parents.”
“Oh!” was Kay’s response.
“Guess we didn’t have to wake up anyone,” replied Karen Anne.
“No, you didn’t,” Steve noted. “But we’ll all survive your mistake.”
“At least the pillow fight was fun,” Kay added.
“Pillow fight?” Steve asked.
“Oh, oh,” Kay and Karen Anne responded together.
“Oh, oh,” Hiawatha echoed.
After inspecting the result of cleaning the babies, Steve gave the girls the go ahead to apply the powder and diapers before Steve gave the older girls new outfits to put on the babies.
Meanwhile, Shelly had got the exact number of bowls out of the cupboard and brought out the various cold cereals that the girls usually ate. She put bottles near two of the highchairs for Michelle and Hiawatha then got out a few pots for the ones that wanted hot cereal instead. Her husband and the children drifted into the kitchen over the next hour and ate their breakfast.
“Have a light breakfast,” Shelly warned. “We’re having a heavy meal this evening. Also, girls I need you to start helping.”
She went to the large refrigerator and took out the geese, turkeys and brisket that would become the meat for the meals. The giblets were put into a pile for the potato latke stuffing.
Rachael arrived a few minutes later with her husband and children. She put little Sara in the playpen to play with Michelle and Hiawatha before starting to help her mother and sisters with the preparations.
A doorbell later, Jenna, showing her six-month pregnancy, arrived with her family and was given the task of preparing the latkes before they were cooked. She was then put on little childcare duty, which included allowing the little children to feel their future cousin. By then Janet, also pregnant, and William had arrived with their little Tamara and they were given the task of getting the donuts, cakes, cookies and rugula at the bakery across town.
While this was happening, Maggie and Baruchah decided it was time to get dressed.
“Where dose dresses?” Baruchah inquired as they looked in their closet.
“Dey must be here somewhere,” her twin replied, before looking up. “What’s in dose boxes up dere?”
“Dats where dey is!”
Maggie dragged a chair over to the closet and climbed it carrying a stick. She leaned over, moved the boxes and
ALL the boxes on the closet shelves came down. Fortunately, they fell far enough away from them that they weren’t hurt. Opening the broken boxes they finally found what they were looking for.
The crash was heard by the older folks downstairs making Angela and Stephanie run to find out what was happening. Seeing the young twins playing dress up and the mess in their room, Angela stayed with the innocent troublemakers while Stephanie ran to tell their mother what happened. Shelly cleaned herself up from her cooking preparations before finding out what happened herself.
When she arrived she said, “Angie, Stephie, clean your hands then help your sisters pick up this mess.”
“Why us?” they asked in unison.
“Because they can’t do it themselves and you’re here. I’m needed more in the kitchen. Sorry, I’ll owe you one,” she replied before she went back to supervising the cooking.
Over the next few hours the guests arrived. Some were family, like Holly, her four adult children, her four little ones, and her great and grandchildren. Others were guests like almost all of their synagogue, most of their children’s classes and neighbors. Each was greeted with enthusiasm.
Just after Claus St. Nicholas arrived he started talking to Shelly’s twin brother, Steve, who is know as Wolfie in these gatherings because he and Shelly’s husband had the same first name.
Shyly, Baruchah and Maggie went up to Claus St. Nicholas, “Sanity Clause?”
“Yes, Baruchah,” the bearded man replied.
“Ders dis girl in me and Maggie’s class dats not happy today.”
“Kennedy!” added Maggie. “Her daddy no works no mores most of da year so she won’ts get no prezzies dis year.”
“What about the presents I gave her?”
“She no believes in you no mores,” Maggie explained. “She says dat does in da stores are just some guys dressed like you.”
“Some are, Maggie,” he explained. “But some help me with a list of children that need me more than others.”
“Like mommy when she gave ya dat paper way back in da summer?” asked Baruchah.
“Like that list. Your mommy and daddy can’t do everything. Even I can only do so much.”
“Yeah, ya gots ta do something!” Baruchah begged.
“Ya gots ta,” Maggie agreed.
“What do you want me to do?” asked Claus.
“Wes gots ta go ta Kennedy’s house and wes gives her dat doll she weally wants,” Baruchah suggested.
“Dat way shes believes in ya,” Maggie added.
“I believe my nieces have the beginning of an idea, Claus,” Wolfie suggested. “Maybe with some help for Kennedy’s father what we do might just work.”
“You’re right!” Claus slapped Steve on his back. “But I don’t know what to do for Kennedy’s mother.”
“We’ll decide what to do when we get there,” added Steve, excited. “Does Kennedy have any brothers or sisters?”
Maggie thought then admitted, “I don thin so.”
“Nope,” Baruchah said. “She once saided we’s was lucky to have so many sisters, cause she’s alone.”
“Humm,” Clause said with a smile. “I have an idea.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” asked Steve. “If you are then we have to make sure she wants it.”
“How’s your sight?” Claus inquired.
“Better than Shelly’s and almost as good as Jenna’s.”
“Then kids, get your coats and lead the way,” suggested Claus.
When Shelly found out that her twins were on a mercy mission, she helped her munchkins with their coats, hats and scarves. By that time both gentlemen had explained their mission to the rest of the party and were ready to brave the cold weather. Claus carried a small red bag as the four walked the three blocks to the Harper residence. Actually, Baruchah and Maggie ran back and forth while the men walked and talked. When the four of them arrived on the Harper’s Block the twins ran to the house and rang the bell several times until Mr. Harper answered. Mrs. Harper was right behind him.
“Is Kennedy here?” asked Baruchah breathlessly, with a cheerful smile.
“Wes gots Sanity Clause wid us!” added Maggie still breathing hard.
“Kennedy!” he shouted into the house. “You have visitors!”
Excited, the five-year-old ran down the stairs and then to the entrance, but stopped at the door disappointed by who her visitors were that Christmas day.
“We come with Sanity Clause and he’s bring you a prezzie!” Maggie smiled.
“There’s no Santa Claus,” Kennedy replied in a flat voice.
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” Claus replied to the young girl just after he arrived at the door.
“My name’s not Virginia,” Kennedy explained.
“I know,” Claus continued. “It was an editorial in response to a letter written by a girl named Virginia many, many years ago. In a way, that editorial was the truth.”
“Before we go any further, let me introduce us,” Wolfie added. “I’m Baruchah and Maggie’s Uncle Steve, sometimes called Wolfie, and this is my friend, Claus St. Nicholas.”
“Roger Harper, and this is my wife, Colleen. I believe your nieces know our daughter, Kennedy. Where are my manners? Please come in.”
“And we’re here to give all three of you some presents so you will have a better holiday,” Steve continued.
“All of us?” asked Mrs. Harper.
“We’ll start with the original little girl that brought us here,” Claus continued as he put his hand into the red bag he had brought with him. “I believe this doll is the one you want.”
Kennedy looked at the doll in the box. It was exactly the one she had wanted more than anything else in the world. She gave Mr. St. Nicholas a great big hug and kiss as her tears ran down her face.
“You said you have something in there for all of us?” asked Roger.
Clause put his hand into the bag again, and brought out some papers, “For you, I believe I have your dignity. I suspect this position would fit both your skills and your income needs.”
“Wow!” Roger replied as he briefly looked over the material.
“Call them tomorrow to arrange an interview,” Steve added. “You can start on the second.”
“I don’t suppose you have anything in there for me,” Colleen said. “It looks empty, now.”
“You’re right. It is not in here,” Claus noted. “But because your husband can support you again you will have someone else to love. The two of you will create that love tonight.”
“That’s not possible,” she replied. “I was damaged when Kennedy was born.”
“G_d told Sarah that she would conceive when she was over ninety.”
“Are you saying there will be a miracle?”
“Then I’d really be Santa Claus. Besides, each child is a miracle.”
“That’s so true,” Colleen replied as she gave Claus a hug then smiling put her hand around Roger’s arm.
“But Santa Claus doesn’t exist,” Kennedy protested.
Roger bent down to his daughter and explained, “I don’t know if this man really is Santa Claus. For the time being I will believe. If he isn’t, the spirit of Santa Claus lives within him. Keep that spirit with you, Kennedy. That’s how Santa Claus will live.”
“These gifts, especially the one for you, Colleen are not from me,” Claus added. “They are gifts from G_d.”
“There is one more gift we wish to give you,” Steve added. “Please join us at the Chanukah party we’re having at my sister’s home.”
Although he knew that the invite was the second request, he acted as if it was the first. Colleen gave her husband a squeeze on his arm. When he looked she smiled.
“Can I bring my new baby, too?” asked Kennedy.
“Sure, wes cans play wid our sisters and cousins,” Baruchah noted.
“And friends, too,” added Maggie.
“How should we dress?” asked Roger?
“What you are wearing is good enough,” Steve told them. “So grab your coats and join us.”
“Let me put on some makeup,” Colleen requested. “Kennedy, do you want some lipstick?”
A few minutes later they were ready and returned to the party. The Harpers mixed well with the others. Colleen joined the ladies lively discussions in the kitchen and dining room. The men, of course, discussed the latest things about sports, cars, home repairs, and work before settling down to watch the NFL games until dinner. The teens tried to find quiet corners to make out while the little kids, being kids, ran throughout the house and back yard.
After dinner was ready and put out, the Chanukah lights were lit by the littlest children. As the oldest of her generation, Holly led the blessings. Baruchah and Maggie helped Kennedy light one of the candles. That made Kennedy grin.
Jenna’s baby was born March 12, Janet’s on July 19, Colleen’s on September 25. Shelly had another set of twins on October 25.
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