Welcome to my new attempt at TSOM fanfiction. So I know that lately, world events have actively messed with everyone's typical notion of what the holidays look like. I thought I'd let out my personal feelings on the subject out in a short story about my two of my favourite things: TSOM and the holidays. I know that for some, the holidays may mean Zoom calling family members instead of having big gatherings, and changing up how things, whatever they may be, are celebrated. All I wanted to say in this somewhat short segment is that I hope you have wonderful holidays, no matter what you are celebrating, or if you're not celebrating much. (And let's attempt to cross out 2020 out of the Gregorian calendar).
This isn't going to be the typical von Trapp Christmas, as far as the children are concerned. I've never considered preparing for a Christmas like this, all of us packed into a hotel room in front of a tiny tree. But here we are.
It is just 3 pm, early for us to be back at the hotel room, but we needed to start preparing the miniature Christmas tree and start singing our carols for Christmas Eve. Our tree is a lot smaller than what the children said the tree was like back in Austria. It's only up to about my hips, but the smell of the fir instantly made the room feel that much more like home. The little ones busied themselves putting all the small plastic balls on the Christmas tree, excited for the arrival of St. Nick in a week. I wonder to myself of how different our lives are from what they were not too long ago.
After we escaped the now-occupied Austria, through Switzerland, over the course of a few months, we had to make the decision to leave the continent for the distant safety of the United States. It was simply to dangerous to be this close to Germany, knowing that Georg was being actively looked for in Austria, and not willing to test the zeal of herr Zeller in separating us. This was also helped by the fact that I found out I was pregnant in Switzerland.
Georg and the children couldn't have been more excited. The captain quickly got a lot more authoritarian in making sure I wouldn't do anything unnecessarily strenuous. That still didn't stop me from playing with the children and learning new songs, much to his chagrin. But soon after, we boarded a ship with a ticket to New York City.
We spent 3 weeks on a ship to the famous city. The first week was fine, and the children were excited to be sailing into the new world. But then Louisa's seasickness came into play and the little ones got continuously bored and wandered, so I was kept on my toes. Georg helped me as much as he could and he was always extremely worried about any strain. I still tried to keep busy, and didn't let him fall too much into his commanding ways. We were still without a home and without much money in our pockets, going to a country none of us had ever seen before, but somehow, I felt just a little better with Georg.
In order to feel a little less worried and keep ourselves occupied on the long trip, we sang the whole way to America. We ended up getting a name for ourselves on deck with how much singing we were doing. People came to listen to us, and some of them even sang along. It made the voyage feel that much less lonely, and less terrifying.
And then we got to the United States, and we were held in custody for a while on an island near New York City. I'm assuming they were worried that we were anything like Hitler's kind. But a kind Mr. Sulliver was an agent that heard us at the Salzburg Folk Festival not too long ago, and hearing of our predicament, helped us get our VISAs and begin a concert tour. Of course, Georg was not happy about it, but seeing as we were out of money and a baby on the way, hesitantly agreed to the idea.
We come to a stop as our bus driver, Jacob, parks in the parking lot of the hotel. The children all rush out, eager to play in the snow and to chatter about the day's events. Georg helps Gretl onto her feet as she dashes outside to join her siblings, before turning to me.
"Are you alright?" he asks, examining me for strain. I smile.
"I'm fine Georg, you're going to make me nervous, and that's the first thing the doctor said I'm not allowed to do." I remind him, playfully. But I know I'm nervous. I'm not due until the new year, but I can't help but feel a little on edge. He smiles exasperatedly and helps me out of the bus. One bonus of being heavily pregnant is that going anywhere becomes a lot more physically taxing than it would otherwise. It makes me a little sad, because I can't actively play hide and seek with my children, but they are being so kind and trying to make sure they don't harm Mother. I admit, I still sometimes have trouble not getting emotional when they call me mom. On one hand I'm happy, but I don't want them to forget Agathe. She was so dear to them and they loved so much.
And now it's Christmas. We've tried to keep up carolling and doing the traditional ways of preparing for Christmas, but I know it's not the same. It breaks my heart a little, because it was never the children's fault that it has to change along with us, and I wonder if we could ever get back to how it was before. Most likely not, I remind myself. And I know that it's in God's plan to help us find our place in this changing world. When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.
I mentally shake off my constant worrying and we go up into the hotel room. Because we're a large family, we had to book out a few rooms, to which me and Georg each have a key for. For now, we all huddle into mine, Georg's, Marta's and Gretl's room, as we continue preparing the tree.
"Mother, who do you think we'll have: a brother or a sister?" asks Marta. I smile at the little black haired girl.
"It's the Lord's plan to decide who He sends to us." I remind her, not sure of the answer myself. A mischievous smile plays on my husbands face as he pulls me by the waist closer.
"You'll have a baby sister." he replies. Marta's face lights up at the idea of having a little sister as I turn to face Georg with mock outrage.
"Well I think my baby will be a boy, and if I'm right, you're going to sing with us in public." I reply cheekily. Georg's eyebrows lift as his blue eyes meet mine.
"Is that a challenge, Mrs. von Trapp?" asks Georg, I lift up my chin to face him, acknowledging my stance, and he kisses me quickly.
"Deal." he replies, "But I've been a father before, and I have the upper hand. If I'm right, you're going to have to be on constant bedrest after the birth." By this point, the children are all being very competitive. The boys and Liesl were sure Georg is right, but Brigitta steps beside me.
"I'm siding with Mother." she pipes up. I look up at the clock and notice the hand at quarter before 6.
"Children, get dressed into your costumes, we need to be outside in fifteen minutes for the evening concert." I remind them and they all scramble for the door.
"I'll take care of Marta and Gretl. Don't worry." smiles Liesl, as she leads her youngest sisters out the door. Sometimes I worry that Liesl takes on a lot of the duties as the eldest sister, so I try to spend time with her to talk about boy stuff and all of the growing up stuff. I know Rolfe's decision hurt her deeply, and I'm hoping that letting her have those talks with me would help her get past it, and I pray for that boy every day.
"Why are you so quiet today, Maria?" says Georg from behind me. I lean into him, enjoying the feeling of safety that brings me.
"I wonder how we'll celebrate Christmas this year. They're a long way from home and I wonder how well they're coping with the change. I know we'll do the best we can, but I worry about them." I answer. He pauses for a moment, wrapping his arms around me.
"We can manage. And you're doing so well, my darling. Didn't you say the doctor told you no worrying?" he smiles, but I can see the tiredness in his eyes, as I turn around to kiss him. He grasps me a little tighter, trying his best to take care of my growing stomach.
"I know. And you know you can tell me when things are bothering you." I reply, melting into his arms. I can feel him tense a little, and I can guess what it's about. He loosens his grip around me as I look up at him.
"The Navy said no?" I ask him. He sighs in reply. I hold him tightly. Almost as soon as we got into America, he's been petitioning the war department to let him help the effort in any way he can. But because of his status, and his home country currently in Germany's grasp, the War Department is hesitant of him getting anywhere near even a munitions factory.
"I've known war before and I want to help end this one." he replies quietly. I kiss his cheek gently
"Georg, you're doing something for Austria already. You're helping me and you're helping your family." I explain to him, "And I'd much rather you be with me on tour, being the commanding officer than out somewhere making weapons."
There is something being unsaid here. I know, somewhere in me, that if it was up to him, he'd get into a U-Boat and fight Nazis personally. He never said as much, but I know he hates people like herr Zeller more than anything and wants to fight. But he isn't telling me, just because he wants to be there for me, when I give birth, and he wants to be there for his kids when his eighth child is both. And considering my whale like size, it won't be long before that happens. It scares me a little that he is considering that path, but I know that I'll support him, and pray every day he comes home if it comes to that.
"Now come on. We can't leave the children alone for that long and be late to the concert." I smile at him reassuringly and he takes my hand as we go to the concert.