38: Pajama Joyride

38: Pajama Joyride

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas

Pajama Joyride

In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in.

~Robert Brault

“Wake up, Sweet Pea!” Momma leaned over my bed. Confused, I sat up and looked around. The moon still glowed high in the sky through my curtains. It couldn’t be time to get up. My eight-year-old eyes were still clouded with sleep. I walked over to my closet to get dressed, but Momma stepped in my way.

“We’re going on an adventure!” She grabbed my hand and picked up my slippers from the floor of my closet. I reached behind me to get my Christmas angel doll from my bed and smoothed her pink silk dress as we descended the staircase hand in hand.

Momma’s eyes danced with excitement, and she looked up at my daddy, who led the twins down the staircase behind us. Each of them clutched a stuffed toy soldier in his arms. We walked single-file past our twinkling Christmas tree and out the front door into the cold Chicago wind.

Our trusty red station wagon waited for us in the driveway. Ruby had traveled many miles with us, and another adventure was in the making. Jonathan and Benjamin curled up on either side of me in the back seat. The soft wool blanket surrounded our legs, and we sat wide-eyed, hugging our Christmas dolls.

“We’re going on a pajama joyride!” Momma exclaimed. Handing me a stack of Christmas books on tapes, she said, “Pick one!”

Ruby took us all around the western Chicago suburbs that night. We saw Christmas lights of all colors: classy white, neon, and colored. There were decorations in all shapes and sizes: light-up reindeer, blowup Santa Clauses, and nativity scenes.

The warmth from Ruby’s heater could not compare to the warmth in my little heart.

Giggles of joy quickly turned into squeals of excitement as our joyride ended in the parking lot of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. The “hot n’ ready” sign glowed like a beacon in the night. We scrambled out of the car and into the shop.

Our noses left tiny prints on the glass. We gaped in amazement at the machinery that made the glorious glazed doughnuts. Our three little bodies squeezed into one side of a small booth.

We devoured doughnuts as the five of us critiqued the lit-up houses we had seen on our joyride. We walked out of the store, sticky hand in sticky hand, and cuddled up in Ruby’s back seat for the ride home. We went back to bed that night with smiles on our doughnut-glazed faces.

We’re in our early twenties now. Beloved Ruby has been replaced more than once. Our legs are longer and our pajamas no longer have attached feet. The books on tape have been replaced by iPods blasting Christmas songs. We moved five times, too. Yet, every year, we’re still surprised when Mom announces we’re going on a pajama joyride.

~Emily Morgan

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