All I want for ChristmasAbby Koopman of Alexandria wanted a Barbie for Christmas, but more than that, she wanted her dad home for the holidays. Abby’s dad, Joe Koopman, is a sergeant in the National Guard stationed in Kuwait.
By: Stacie Kimball, Alexandria Echo Press
Abby Koopman of Alexandria wanted a Barbie for Christmas, but more than that, she wanted her dad home for the holidays.
Abby’s dad, Joe Koopman, is a sergeant in the National Guard stationed in Kuwait.
On Friday, the 5-year-old sat on her teacher’s lap at Community Preschool at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. She told the class she wanted to see her dad for Christmas.
Abby’s teacher, Melisa Schueler, explained to the class that Abby’s daddy was in Kuwait for his job.
Just then, a little bell chimed.
“Oh, our secret reader is here,” said the teacher.
All of the children took their places in front of the classroom door that was carefully covered with wrapping paper. The identity of the secret reader was concealed behind the brightly colored paper curtain.
The reader began to read, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell.
“There was an old lady who swallowed a bell. How it jingled and jangled and tickled, as well. I don’t know why she swallowed a bell. I wish she’d tell.”
The secret reader had a low voice. It was definitely a man.
“Is it Santa?” one child asked.
Schueler kept one eye on the festively wrapped door and one eye on Abby Koopman who sat attentively in the front row.
A few curious glances were shared between Abby and her teacher.
“Who is it?” the teacher mouthed to Abby.
When the reader finished the story, Schueler began questioning the preschoolers as to the secret reader’s identity.
“Does anybody have a guess of who our mystery reader could be?” askedSchueler.
Some children replied with guesses of Santa.
“Who did it sound like? Did you use your ears?” Schueler questioned the children.
“A daddy!” one child replied with enthusiasm.
“A dad? Are you a dad?” Schueler asked the secret reader.
The voice responded, “I am a dad, yes.”
One of the preschoolers speculated it was “Troy’s dad.”
“Are you Troy’s dad?” inquired the teacher.
“No, I’m not Troy’s dad,” the deep voice answered back.
“My dad?” Abby quietly asked?
Schueler asked Abby, “Do you think it’s your dad? Does it sound like your dad?”
Abby nodded, the ponytail on her head bobbing up and down.
“Abby thinks it might be her dad. Would you like to come and open the present and see?” Schueler asked Abby.
With a rip and a tear she pulled away the paper. The secret reader anxiously assisted from the other side.
“It’s Daddy!” Abby said in a high-pitched voice.
Other than a few gasps and squeals of excitement from the children, the room was strangely quiet.
And almost as though it was in slow motion, Joe Koopman swooped up his daughter.
The two embraced and said nothing as everyone watched with smiles on their faces. Teary sniffles from the adults in the room echoed about.
Abby’s stepmom, Chelsey, was barely able to see through her tears and she joined the two for a group hug.
Abby’s Christmas wish came true. Her dad surprised everyone by coming home three months early from Kuwait on a two-week leave from his duties with the National Guard.
The little girl sat on her dad’s lap holding the Barbie doll and teddy bear he brought as gifts.
The smile on her face stretched from ear to ear.
She looked at her dad and said, “I’m so glad you’re home, Daddy.”