Genre: Slice of Life, Fluff, Family 🦙
Word Count: 989 🦙
Series Tie-In: None 🦙
Warnings: None 🦙
Prompt: Family (from the MSSSC November/December ’19) 🦙
Written: 12/30/19 🦙
This is my first entry for the Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge by lisabee2. I’m super late on this, but I’m happy that they let me join anyway ^~^/ It was kinda hard to write because I kept glancing at the word count to make sure I didn’t go over 1k, but I’m happy with the result. I hope you all enjoy!
With a sigh, I peeled my eyes open and looked at the clock; two in the morning and I haven’t gotten a wink of sleep. I pulled myself out of bed and stepped out of the house, my feet crunching the snow as I stepped onto the sidewalk. The first snowfall of the season had started around four in the morning, covering Willow Creek in a soft blanket of white. My eyes scanned the street, lips tugging downward. The neighbor’s houses were all decorated with lights and Winterfest-themed banners, making their homes pop against the snow.
Although I’m a single father working two jobs to keep a roof over our head and food on the table, I always feel like a failure at this time of year because I can’t afford to decorate the house with lights or purchase a tree to sit in the living room, and I only have enough simoleons to get my daughter one small present. By nature, I’m a pretty goofy guy that doesn’t take life too seriously but seeing other families going all out for the holidays when I can’t afford the smallest of things makes me feel pretty gloomy.
I turned my eyes to the sky, filled with fluffy white clouds. ‘This year, I’ll do anything to at least get her a good gift!’
My body was shaken roughly and I groaned, peeling my eyes open, my voice groggy. “What’s wrong, Blaire?”
“It snowed last night!” She leaned over my face with a wide grin. “Come on, let’s build a snowpal!”
“What time is it?” I grumbled, pulling my body into a sitting position and rubbing at my face.
“It’s almost noon, sleepyhead.” She chuckled, hopping off the bed.
I frowned, snapping my gaze to the clock sitting on the bedside table. Dang, I really slept in? “Sorry, I didn’t get to make you breakfast,”
Blaire rolled her eyes and folded her arms across her chest. “Dad, I love your cooking, really, but sometimes a girl just wants to eat pizza rolls for breakfast.”
“That is not healthy, Blaire.” I scolded, my lips twitching up.
“That’s the point. Now get dressed!”
I watched as she left the room and shook my head, yawning as I headed toward the closet, slipping into my winter clothes before heading outside. She was already ankle-deep in snow, the base of the snowpal built. With a smile, I joined her, my fingers sinking into the ice-cold snow. My mind was elsewhere, though.
Could I take out a small loan? I doubt I’d get approved, especially so close to Winterfest. Maybe I can ask a co-worker? No, what kind of father would I be if I did that? Theft… no way, I could never resort to such a thing! But… it’s a father’s job to ensure his child’s happiness no matter what the cost, isn’t it? Man, why doesn’t being a parent come with some sort of guide?
Snow was thrown into my face and I winced as some of it fell down into the collar of my jacket, chilling my neck. I wiped it away and gave Blaire what I hoped to be an ‘annoyed father’ look. “What was that for?”
She quirked a brow and folded her arms across her chest. “You’ve sighed about five times since you got out here. If you keep furrowing your brow like that, you’re gonna get wrinkles!”
“I already have wrinkles,”
“See? It’s happening already!”
I chuckled. “It’s called getting older, dear.”
She hummed, thoughtfully. “But aunt Darcy is the same age and she doesn’t have a single wrinkle!”
“Yeah, well, Darcy is a… special case,” I responded, resisting the urge to roll my eyes. Vampires and their never aging, what a pain.
“Come on, dad.” Blaire frowned, “Tell me what’s wrong. You’ve been acting down the past few days.”
“I… have?” I chewed on my lip, ‘Dang, I thought I was hiding it from her!’
“I’ve spent sixteen years of my life with you, dad, I can read you like a book. Now spill,”
I sighed, running my hand down my face. “It’s just… I feel like I’m failing you. I can’t afford to decorate the house or even get a tree! There’s no big family dinner or large piles of presents and -”
My words were cut off when she shoved snow into my face again, a frown on her lips. “You can’t be serious. You work your butt off to provide for me and keep a roof over my head. Even when you’re tired from work, you still help me with my homework and make me dinner. You wake up an hour early to make breakfast. Honestly, I don’t really mind not decorating for Winterfest. It’s kind of a pain, you know?”
“I… what?” My brow furrowed. As a child, she always loved seeing the Winterfest lights. I remember taking her around town just to see the decorations – her eyes would light up like the star atop the tree in the center of town. What had changed?
She smiled, brightly, pulling me into a hug. “Winterfest isn’t about decorations or gifts, it’s about family. As long as you’re here with me, I don’t need all that other stuff.”
Tears pricked at my eyes as I held her tightly. “You really are a great kid, Blaire. You’ve grown up so well,”
She chuckled as she pulled away. “All because of you, dad. Now, let’s take a picture together!” Blaire tugged me closer as she pulled her phone from her pocket. “Say ‘snowpal’!”
“Snowpal!” I smiled brightly and she snapped the photo.
As her father, I’m the one that’s supposed to be teaching her about life, love, and everything in between, but I guess… even our kids can teach us a thing or two sometimes. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel gloomy during Winterfest and it’s all because of my beautiful daughter, my family.