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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: Kicking and Screaming
By Laury Hubrich


Echo lay sprawled on her bed, stomach down, feet in the air. Her tiny fists were tucked up under her chin.

Echo’s mom pushed the bedroom door open with a wicker basket full of toys. “I’ve told you a thousand times to keep your toys picked up.”

The little girl drooled over the thick catalog that rested on her bed.

“Echo, are you listening to me?” Carol raised her voice a decibel. She lifted the basket above the bed and spilled the contents all over the self-absorbed girl.

Echo’s red curls bobbed as she turned her head. “Mommy, why did you do that?” She pushed the former year’s Christmas presents off her bed. They clattered and clanked as they fell on the toys already on the floor.

“You need to clean your room.” Carol was becoming increasingly agitated.

Echo was drawn back to her day dreaming. “Have you seen the new Christmas wish catalog? There’s lots of cool stuff.”

Carol shook her head, clearly exasperated and befuddled as to how she could have raised such a spoiled child. “It’s time for you to clean your room.” Carol bent down and picked up a doll that lay straddled across a mound of toys. She put it up on the shelf that was specially made to keep Echo’s room organized. She cleared her throat.

Echo turned to look at her again, “Yes, Mommy?” Her eyes sparkled mischievously.

Carol trembled when she realized how badly spoiled her one and only daughter was. “Let’s clean your room together. It won’t take long.”

Echo, already bored with the conversation, turned her head back to her catalog. “Mommy, I circled the things I just HAVE to have in red crayon and the things that Grammy can give me are in green.”

Carol finally had enough. “Echo, I’m talking to you.” She took the crayons away.

Echo screamed in protest. “Mommy… I need those. You’re going to mix me all up.”

Fueled by Echo’s bad attitude, Carol swooped down and swiped the catalog right up from her daughter’s nose.

Echo let off an ear-piercing scream. Her dad raced up the steps to see what was going on.

Carol stopped him before he scooped Echo into his arms. “Ignore her, Mark. She’s absorbed in that wish catalog and not doing anything I’m telling her to do. ”

Mark backed out of the room while saying, “Do what your mommy says, Sweetcakes. Remember, Santa’s coming soon.”

Carol followed Mark out and closed the door. “That’s real good. Have you seen all those toys in her room?”

Mark said, “Sorry. Maybe she needs to be taught a lesson.”

“What a great idea.” Carol kissed him on the cheek.

The next day after school, Echo ran from her room screaming, “My toys are gone.”

Her mother was calm. “I told you to clean your room.”

“I was gonna..”

“Now you don’t have to worry about it.”

“I am worried about it. I need my toys.”

“Obviously you didn’t care for them.”

Echo threw herself to the floor. She kicked her feet and held her breath.

When Mark got home, Carol met him at the door with a tear-stained faced daughter. He said, “We’re all going for a ride, Honey.”

She climbed in beside bags of her toys and pressed her nose to the window. Soon they parked beside a building.

“What is this place?” she asked.

“A homeless shelter. Kids live here with their parents when they have no place to go,” her dad explained.

A little boy met them at the door. “Wanna come see my room?” he asked her.

Carol told her she could go.

Joey grabbed her hand and proudly showed her his ‘room’, which was a top bunk separated by curtains. One stuffed animal sat on his pillow. “You moving here, too?”

“Ummm…no.” She looked around. “Don’t you have any other toys?”

He put his head down. “Used to. Before Daddy lost his job.”

Echo’s stomach churned then she remembered what was in her car. “You have more friends here?”

He nodded.

“Go get them. I’ll be right back”. Echo helped her parents lug in the bags.

Joey was followed by ten little kids. They tentatively walked up to Echo, drawn by the pull of toys. Wish catalog forgotten, Echo helped each child find just the right present.

As they left the shelter, Echo tugged on her mom’s shirt. “No more wish books for me. Can we come here every year?”

Carol hugged her daughter tight. “Absolutely.”

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This article has been read 955 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beckie Stewart11/20/08
Great and powerful story. Well told. Love it! The message is loud and clear.
Dianne Janak11/20/08
Loved the story and the lesson not only for her but for all of us! a reminder of just how blessed we all have been for a long time.. thanks.
Catrina Bradley 11/21/08
The ending is the best part of this story. I'm not sure how old Echo is - sometimes she seems older than others, but that's probably because she's so spoiled, which makes her act more immature than her age. You pegged the temper-tantrum of a spoiled brat. (Not MY child of course, but I've seen it. ;) )
Joanne Sher 11/24/08
Very good characterization of the little girl, and a story we ALL need to remember and take to heart!
Dee Yoder 11/26/08
Goodness! Glad that little girl learned a valuable lesson early on in life. Those kinds of lessons are the ones that tend to stick!
Teresa Lee Rainey11/26/08
What a great lesson. Love the title too. :)
Norma-Anne Hough11/26/08
Very powerful story. Loved the way it turned out. Well done.
Marijo Phelps11/26/08
Do you think it would work! Loved the story and the change of heart and perspective of the little girl.
Loren T. Lowery11/26/08
The message found in this simple story is profound and so, so true. Something that is too easy to forget and we are lucky to find writings like this that remind us of it from time to time.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/26/08
Well told, excellent dialogue and conclusion.
Joshua Janoski11/26/08
This story reminds me of a time when I took some of my toys to some needy kids. I was only about 5 or 6 at the time, but it has had a lasting impact on me even to this day.

So glad that this little girl learned a valuable lesson. You are on a roll with these Christmas topics aren't you? :)