AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Lilliana Anderson
A Beautiful Peek at Christmas with Paige and Elliot – 2015
Like all parents, Christmas day starts for us with the excited squeals of small children.
“Mummy! Daddy! Santa was here. Santa was here!”
I crack open an eye and see that it’s still dark. The glowing lights on the LED clock let me know that it’s close to 5am.
“Shhh, you’re going to wake the baby,” Paige whispers harshly, her eyes still closed as she opens her arms and welcomes our two oldest children into our bed for morning cuddles. I shift my position to make room, lifting the lightweight blanket so their little bodies can fit in between us.
“Merry Christmas, little munchkins,” I say as I inhale their familiar scent. It smells like family – like love.
“He left a stocking outside our rooms,” our eldest, Grace whispers in her six-year-old voice.
“I think there’s lollies,” Adam, our three-year-old informs us, the glee in his voice evident even through his loud whisper. “Can we eat them now?”
“You need to have breakfast first,” Paige tells them, her fingers gently brushing through Adam’s soft brown hair. I watch her fingers as they move, her eyes closed, her expression serene. After all she went through in her life, she’s never once let it affect her ability to be a mother. If anything, she’s done everything she can to give our kids the childhood she never had.
She was born to fill this world with love.
I was born to love her.
The receiver for the baby monitor crackles moments before a soft gurgling can be heard.
“Kayley’s up!” Adam springs from in between us, his elbow copping me in the chest as he climbs back down the bed to run into the nursery to see his baby sister. Kaylynn – Kayley for short – was born six months ago. Like all of our children she’s the spitting image of her mother with dark curls and olive skin. The other two have my blue eyes, but Kayley has Paige’s amber ones. We often call her ‘mini-mummy’.
“Don’t try to pick her up!” Paige calls out as he rushes out the door.
“I’ll go too,” Grace says, climbing out of bed. For a six year old, she acts as though she already knows the way of the world and loves bossing her little brother around.
Her exit gives Paige and me a brief moment of marital bliss – ten seconds alone.
“Merry Christmas, gorgeous,” I murmur, sliding my arm around her waist and pulling her warm body against mine.
“Merry Christmas, my love.” She wraps her arms around my neck and presses her lips to mine, kissing me in a way that makes me wish we had a whole hour so I could worship her body and give her a Christmas morning to put that delicious satisfied smile she gets on her face.
“Mum! Adam’s unlatching the cot!” Grace called out.
“Am not! I was just looking!”
Paige grinned against my mouth and rubbed her nose against mine. “We’d better get out there.”
Later that day…
Elliot and I sit on the swinging loveseat outside our coastal home. As our family grew, we needed to move out of our two-bedroom apartment and into a house with a yard. The kids love it and are running around on the grass, spraying each other with the water guns Elliot’s stepdad insisted on giving them for hot Australian summer – never mind there’s a perfectly good beach just down the road. But they love their gifts and are having the best time spraying each other with cold jets of water. I can’t help but smile at their joy as I glance over at the baby monitor and hear the soft sleeping noises of our baby girl.
Elliot presses a kiss to the side of my hair, chuckling softly as he turns his attention back to our squealing children.
This is my gift. This is what Christmas means to me – love, family, home.
It’s Elliot with his arm around me. It’s our bellies full of ham, turkey and salad, along with a few thousand other things that were on the table during Christmas lunch with his family. It’s wonderful.
The day has been a flurry of opening gifts, taking photos, hugging those we love and eating, eating, eating. I’m thankful for every moment.
I lean my head on his shoulder and sigh contentedly, tracing my finger over the vine tattoo on his arms that has the names of all our children and myself within its leaves. I love that the tattoo grows as our family grows. I love that I have one on my forearm to match. I love that no matter what, we’re in this together. I love that he loves me in a way that no one else ever has or ever will.
“Have I told you I love you lately?” I whisper in his ear.
“Every day,” he murmurs, a smile curling up the sides of his full lips.
I lean a little closer and whisper again, telling him all about the present I have planned for him later tonight when the kids are all in bed.
He lets out a light groan and turns to face me, his hand sliding into my hair, his eyes darkening. “The things you do to me, Paige Roberts. I love you a ridiculous amount.”
I smile and lean into his hand, my body feeling alive as his lips move to meet mine, kissing me softly, sensually.
“Ewwww!” A jet of water hits us both, getting my face and soaking through my shirt.
“You two are in for it!” Elliot laughs, jumping up to chase them as our children giggle and run away, shooting blindly over their shoulders as he chases them in circles, eventually grabbing the hose.
“No!” They squeal, holding out their hands, begging him to stop while also giggling wildly. It’s pure happiness. Pure joy. And when he turns the nozzle and the water jets out the squealing laughter wakes Kayley up from her nap. I smile as her happy gurgles emit from the monitor. She wants to be a part of the fun.
When I get her up, she rests her soft baby face on my shoulder, her dark curls tickling lightly against my skin. I inhale her scent – baby powder and perfection. Then I take her outside to watch her father and her siblings run about.
“What’s everyone doing?” I ask her, my voice that soft high pitch that’s reserved especially for these special moments.
She squeals and claps, bouncing up and down on my hip as she watches the fun out on the lawn.
I press a kiss to her head and hug her to me, humming quietly, feeling content.
This is my gift. This is what Christmas means to me – love, family, home.
It’s all I need.
Australian born and bred, Lilliana Anderson has always loved to read and write considering it the best form of escapism that the world has to offer. Besides writing Angelien's biographical trilogy, she also writes contemporary romance and drama all based around Aussie characters.
When she isn't writing she is a wife, and a mother to four children. She has worked in a variety of industries and studied humanities before transferring to commerce/law at university.
She currently lives a fairly quiet life in suburban Melbourne.
Visit Lilliana Anderson's Website: http://lillianaanderson.com/
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1. If money was no object what would take out the number one spot on your Christmas list?
A house on the beach!
2. What was the first book you read that made you think “wow this is what I want to do, I want to be an author”?
Roald Dahls, The Twits. It was the first book I ever read from cover to cover. I loved it so much that I wanted to make others feel the same way.
3. What does Christmas mean for you?
Family. Smiles on faces. Very little sleep.
4. What’s your guilty pleasure, the one thing you hate admitting out loud?
I am such an open book that I pretty much admit everything, and I have sooooo many vices….hmmmm….sometimes, I’ll buy a box of chocolates to give someone as a gift then I eat it and have to buy them another one, lol!
5. What’s next for you in terms of writing?
Finding my love again. I’ve spent a lot of time studying the business side of the industry, and the next year for me is about finding that obscene love that I had in the beginning. I’m doing that by only writing about the characters that are loudest in my head. I started doing that when I decided to write 47 Things, and I feel so much better for it. My next release, In the Wind, is being written for the same reason – the characters have been yelling at me for a long time, and it feels great to get them out.