When Eric’s parents decide to read his letter to Santa so they can get him what he wants for Christmas, they find a message that breaks their hearts instead.

“Mom.” Eric gave his mom a gentle pull on her sleeve.

“Yes, Tina, I changed it yesterday.” Eric’s mom quickly turned to him and waved her hand to tell him to wait before pointing to her phone.

Eric sighed and got up to leave. He was eight years old and old enough to know that once his mom started talking to her coworkers, he would have to wait a long time.

He went back to the living room. He and his dad had been watching a cartoon together, but now Dad was on the phone.

“Hey, Eric! Sorry to bother you, but I have to answer this message right away.” Eric’s dad gave him a quick smile as he tapped on the screen of his phone.

“Okay, but can I—”

“I told you, Eric, that I was answering a message. Wait.”

Eric sat on the couch in a ball. We were almost ready to go to the park. He had been waiting all day for his parents to come home, and he didn’t want to wait any longer!

“Eric?” Mom came in with a frown on her face. “I’m sorry, honey, but I can’t go with you to the playground today. I have to fix a big mistake at work, but you can still go with your dad.”

“I actually have something important to do at work as well.” His dad was sitting next to him on the couch. “I’m sorry, kid, but we can always go tomorrow.”

“But you say that all the time, and it never comes true!” Eric got up from the sofa.

“I’m sorry, Eric, but we have to work to make enough money to live a happy life. “You know that,” Eric’s dad told him.

Eric put his arms in a cross. Money and work were always there. He knew they needed money to buy things, but he had never been happier than when he was with his parents.

Eric’s wish list only had one thing on it, and it made both of his parents cry.

He felt tears in his eyes. All he wanted to do was go to the playground with Mom and Dad, but all they ever wanted to do was work.

“This weekend, we’ll make it up to you.” Mom put her hand on his shoulder and got down on the ground next to him. “Santa will go to the mall to pick up all of the kids’ letters. Do you want to see him?”

Eric gave Mom a quick look. He wasn’t sure if he still believed in Santa, but he wanted to be with his parents. He gave a little nod.

“Great!” Mom grinned at him. “You should start thinking about what you want Santa to bring you for Christmas.”

Eric worked on his letter to Santa for the next few days. After dinner, he would talk to his parents about what he was putting on his list, unless they were working.

He was excited to go to the mall and see Santa on Saturday morning. He walked into the kitchen, where he thought his parents were making coffee, but Grandma Annie was there instead.

“Hello, Eric.” Grandma gave him a smile. “Your parents had to work today, so they asked me to take care of you. I’ve heard that we’re going to the mall to deliver your letter to Santa.”

“No, I no longer want to go.” Eric took a step back.

“But how will Santa know what to give you for Christmas?”

Eric wiped his eyes to get rid of the tears. He only asked for one thing for Christmas.

Eric’s parents came home late that night and thanked Grandma Annie for taking care of him on such short notice.

Annie said, “I’m always happy to take care of my grandson, but he’s been in his room most of the day. He didn’t want to see Santa at the mall.

“He didn’t? He was so happy about it, though.” Eric’s mom made a face.

“I think he was looking forward to spending the day with you and her.” Annie reached out and patted the hand of Eric’s mom. “I know you both work very hard, but it’s important to make time for your kids.”

Eric’s parents looked at each other, and they both felt bad.

Eric’s mom and dad went to his room after Grandma Annie left. Eric was already asleep, and his soft cheeks had tear marks on them. When his mom bent down to kiss him on the head, she saw that he was holding a letter to Santa.

She took the letter and told Eric’s father to come with her.

She said in a whisper to Eric’s dad, “Let’s read the letter.” “Then we can be sure to get Eric the Christmas gifts he wants.”

“That’s a good thought.” Eric’s dad grinned.

They both sat on the couch and opened up the paper. Eric’s wish list only had one thing on it, and it made both of his parents cry.

“Dear Santa, Please give my parents a lot of money so they can stop working so much and spend more time with me.” I really miss them.’

Eric’s mom looked into the eyes of her husband. “What can we do, Jim? I can’t stand to think that our work is making Eric so sad, but we can’t just quit.”

“Yes, Shania, we can.” Jim grabbed his wife’s hands. “A marketing company that competes with mine offered me a job.”

Shania looked sad. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I was waiting until we could talk about it, but now I think it’s best for our family if I take it.” Jim moved toward her. “Both the hours and the pay are better. I’ll make enough money so that you can quit and find a better job, too.”

“Are you sure?”

Jim nodded. “Let me show you the emails they sent me. We promised to get Eric the gifts on this list, and this job will help us do that.

Shania bent down to hug her husband, and as she did, her tears of sadness turned into tears of happiness.

Both of Eric’s parents quit their jobs the next day. During the Christmas break, they played with Eric, took him for walks, and took him to the playground every day.

Eric felt better than he had in a very long time. He couldn’t believe he got what he wanted for Christmas.

Eric was worried that when his parents got new jobs, everything would go back to the way it was before, but they soon put his worries to rest.

Eric’s parents put away their phones every night so they can spend time with their son. They never changed their weekend plans to hang out with Eric again, and he grew up knowing that his parents would always be there for him.