Written by DeAnna Erdmann
You could say it began with a phone call, but I know it started with a wish. It wasn’t a typical wish where words are callously spoken with more sarcasm than hope. This wish was the kind of wish that made my bones tingle and reach toward the sky. I mouthed the words, but it was my heart that glowed. I know beyond know that God saw that glow from heaven and took pity on me. Starlight, star bright, the first star that I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight.
The next words were on the tip of my tongue, waiting to drip out when the phone rang. I ducked back inside from my perch on my window sill. I crept to my door, quietly pressing my ear to the crack to see if I could make out what was being said. My mother answered the phone, and her hushed voice was hard to hear. I could tell she was upset because her words were coming faster, and her voice was getting higher. I made out a few words in her frantic voice, pleading and anger… mortgage… death… holidays. It was easy to figure out what was going on.
My dad had been killed when a drunk driver crossed into his lane after passing out on the Fourth of July. My mom has been a stay-at-home mom all of my life and was suddenly left to find a job that could pay all of the bills, which was nearly impossible for a woman who had been out of the workforce for seventeen years. Turns out a college degree doesn’t matter so much without the work experience to back it. It has been five months since Dad left us, and the mortgage company was relentless in their pursuit of our home.
I had no doubt it was them on the phone threatening foreclosure if my mom didn’t catch up with the account. I also did not doubt that there was no way that we’d be able to do it. Between thefuneral and lawyers and everyday needs, my parent’s savings had quickly dwindled, leaving my mom stressed and sobbing almost daily. If only the life insurance claim would come through.
For some reason, the insurance company didn’t want to move on the claim until the investigation into the car crash had been completed and blame was officially placed. The woman that had hit my dad was rich and had hired a team of lawyers to fight and exonerate her from all liability. Not only was this woman responsible for taking my dad from me, but now she was responsible for robbing us of the financial peace that his life insurance could give us.
I pressed my forehead into the wall by my door and closed my eyes… if you’re still there and listening to starlight, we could use a break. I heard my mom say goodbye and loudly set her phone on the counter, so I opened my door and headed to the kitchen. She was standing by the island with her hands pressed onto the counter and her head hanging low. I could see the slight shaking of her shoulders.
“Mom?” She quickly straightened and tried to wipe her face covertly. “Hey, sweety. Did you finish your homework?”
“Yes, I’m done. I even checked on Evan, and he was finishing up his last page of math. Want me to start dinner?”
She looked deeply into my eyes and ran her fingers along my cheek. My toes twitched uncomfortably. “You’re a great kid Steph. Thank you for helping so much…I can’t believe how grown-up you have become. I am so sorry…I am trying so hard, my darling.”
I pulled her into a hug. “Don’t worry about it, mom. I’m great. Why don’t you go check on Evan and I’ll start some water for spaghetti?” She kissed my cheek and turned, and she seemed almost relieved to detach from her feelings for a moment with my little brother.
As she disappeared, the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it!” I called. I opened the front door to find a FedEx driver. “Hi, miss. I need a signature for the envelope.” I signed the scanner pad where he indicated and took the envelope. I whispered my thanks as I turned and walked back to the kitchen.
“Mom, it’s an envelope for you!” I put it on the island counter and continued with my task of getting dinner ready. My mom came and picked up the envelope with curiosity. She opened it up and slowly read the first page. She made a funny choking sound, and her hand shot to her mouth as big sobs began to shake her shoulders. She shuffled the pages to the last piece of paper and stared at it in emotional disbelief.
“What is it, Mom? Are you ok?”
“I’m wonderful, Steph… we got our Christmas miracle.” She handed me the last piece of paper she had been looking at. It was a check for $250,000. “My appeal to the life insurance agency went through. They released half of your father’s life insurance money and will release the rest after the investigation finishes. God heard our prayers, baby!”
My heart swelled, and I could feel the deep glow that I had when I made my wish. God had heard me, and I knew He could see my glow of gratitude right now. I smiled deeply into my mother’s eye and I knew that this glow connected us both, to each other, to my Dad, and we were held firmly in the hand of the one who created it all.