How you process really terrible bad news.
First you want to call someone. Your mom. Your friend you see every day when you pick your kids up from school.
Then you don't want to. You don't want to talk to anyone about it.
You get angry. Angry at your kids for wanting to set up Christmas decorations. Angry at them for whining.
Then you feel bad about that anger. They're children. They're small and need you.
Angry seems wrong and you feel bad about feeling wrong.
You want to tell them the bad news so that they'll hug you. You want to hug a child, not an adult.
But then you don't want to tell them, either. You will have to later, but not now.
You make them dinner and listen to them make up jokes. You oblige when they want you to make up jokes.
You tell them to eat their oranges and you empty all the garbages in the house.
You let them eat fudgsicles while you do laundry and wash the mirror in the bathroom.
You help them brush their teeth and you clean the bathroom floor while the fiddle with legos and Playmobil.
The phone rings and you drop it, fumble it and lose it under the bathroom sink.
You finally retrieve it, then get more bad news.
You lay next to your baby, letting him rub the crook of your arm while you think of terrible things.
You kiss his eyes and his cheeks when his breath rattles through his stuffy nose.
Then you lay with your daughter while she reads to you.
You kiss her forehead and nose and tell her you love her.
You turn off her lamp and push her hair away from her face.
Then you go out to your husband and stand apart, staring at fixed spots on the floor, the wall, your reflection in the window.
Neither of you know how to soothe the other.
You go up to your bedroom and lay on your side, your arms and legs wrapped around a pillow.
You don't want to hug an adult when you're sad. You want to hug a child.