I walked up the front walk in the darkness of the early evening. I quietly put my luggage down on the front step of my parents’ Los Angeles home and knocked on the door. This was a plan my dad and I had hatched weeks before. It was finally coming to pass. He knew I had flown in from Toronto. My mother didn’t know. And this night – just before Dec. 25 – my mom opened the front door. I was the last person she expected.
“What are you doing here?” she shrieked.
“It’s a surprise Dad and I’ve been working on for weeks,” I said, as I hugged her for the first time since the summer. “I just wanted to be home for Christmas.”