When I originally wrote Mission of Christmas all those years ago, I took several aspects of my real life experiences and anchored the story around them.
Quite a bit of Hawkin’s family came from my own experiences. Some exaggerated, of course, and other aspects made up by my wild imagination, but there are certain things that I did pull from real life.
One thing that didn’t make it in the book, because, frankly, there was no place to put it, was the gift situation.
The following actually happened in my family, and as I wrote Mission of Christmas, I completely envisioned this happening behind the scenes with the secondary characters.
A couple weeks before Christmas, I called my mother.
“Well, is he gonna do it?” I asked.
“Yes, your brother is bringing his girlfriend.”
I giggled. “I’m excited. I can’t wait to meet her.” My mother and father had met my brother’s new girlfriend when they’d gone to visit over the summer. I couldn’t wait, because my brother didn’t bring girls home too often, unless he was serious about them.
After all, we’re a pretty overwhelming bunch when we all get together.
“Do you think this is the one, Mom?” I asked.
“She’s not like any of his other girlfriends. She doesn’t take much crap from him, and she dishes it out just as bad as he does.”
“Well, she’d almost have to, to be around him,” I said. My brother is as ornery as the day is long.
“And she’s naturally beautiful,” my mom added. “Not all made up and high maintenance like some of those other girls.”
“That’s good,” I said. I wasn’t crazy about the couple of other girls he’d been seeing, because they were obviously high end-designer chicks. God forbid they buy a pair of socks at Wal-mart.
“So what are you getting her for Christmas?” I asked.
Mom and I compared notes, trying to figure out what to get my brother’s new girlfriend. Mom was planning to buy her a pair of fuzzy socks. Because fuzzy socks are the best things ever.
So I get off the phone with my mother and my phone rings. It’s my aunt.
Guess what she wants to know?
She wants to know what to get my brother’s girlfriend for Christmas. So we discuss this, I tell her about the conversation between me and my mom.
This happens several times between me, my mother, my aunt and my grandmother, all of us discussing behind the scenes, what to get my brother’s new girlfriend.
I totally could see all of this happening between the Hawkins family–trying to figure out what to get Erica when she came to Christmas.
So yes, in a way, art imitates life. Though I seem to remember, in real life, my brother’s girlfriend showed up with a glittery engagement ring at Christmas. And they are still happily married today.
You’ll have to read Mission of Christmas to find out how it ends for Erica and Andy, though. 🙂