|Kate and Jacob, Christmas 2010|
"Before you go in, agree that you're going to work together and get along," I said in my best Mom Voice.
"We will," they said together in sing-song, not entirely reassuring.
After I dropped them off, I drove down to the coffee shop nearby and I'm sitting here writing. Though, clearly, I'm not writing what I'm supposed to be writing. I have begun it, this task of writing the most difficult chapter in my book, but I'm taking a break. I'm circling around it.
I need to breathe in and out for a minute.
It's rainy, dark and gray, perfect weather for sitting in a booth drinking a latte while you tap onto a keyboard the combination of letters that will spell out the worst thing you've ever experienced.
When Kate and Jacob jumped out of the car earlier, I watched them run through the rain and into the store at one end of the mall. I had one of those moments when I felt so much love for them that it hurt.
I don't normally give them money to buy me gifts. Up until two years ago, their dad would take them out to buy me something, like a sweater from Anthropologie or a new book or two. Last year, my counselor said I would need to make sure that the children knew they should still buy gifts for me and for each other. It would be good for them and good for me. But I would have to make sure that happened. It would be my job.
Honestly, I'm one of those annoying people who will say, "You don't have to give me anything" or I give my mom a list that is full of practical things. For instance, I just ran out of my face wash and I'm thinking about having Santa stop by Rite Aid so he can put a bottle of Neutrogena in my stocking.
I resisted my counselor's advice the past couple of years thinking it was silly to give the kids money just to spend on me, but she was right, of course. They need to think about other people and what they might like this time of year. They need to learn to shop for Christmas gifts.
And I might like to have a few gifts to open, little surprises that Kate and Jacob have chosen for me.
After I dropped them off, I felt like crying. I feel it now, this thing lodged in my throat.
I don't know why.
Stupid f*cking holidays.