The One-Item Christmas List


Atop the Empire State Building, 2006

I only want one thing this Christmas. It’s a big ask, as it is equal parts selfish and impractical. Still, I’ll put it out there for Elf Reid and Santa: I would very much like to spend some time with Lynnette. Just the two of us.

Lynnette is the glitter glue that holds our family together. She feeds and bathes the twins and I am tasked simply with making dinner and doing the dishes. Once the twins are asleep, I shower, unwind, then go to bed so I can wake up early, beat traffic, and get in two solid hours of school work before classes start. But not Lynnette. She stays up sewing up all the remaining details of the day. She tidies up. She wraps Christmas gifts. She preps the twins’ overnight bottles. If one of the twins wakes up, she will feed him or her. She only wakes me up on the rare occasion that they wake up at the same time. Most nights, I fall asleep before she makes it to bed. On nights when she gets to bed early or I stay up later than usual, we scratch each other’s backs. I almost always fall asleep on my side, my right hand on her thigh, my head nuzzled up to her right shoulder. The last thing I see is her face illuminated by her phone’s screen. I try not to bother her too much because I know she needs and deserves her own time and space. Extended periods of distance like this fill me with yearning. It is not the sting and seemingly interminable void of unrequited love. It’s a dull ache that sounds like a long sigh.

Tomorrow, I am going to wake up and go to work when Lynnette leaves. I will try to grade as many essays as possible so as to avoid doing them later. The twins taught me a cruel lesson last winter: they will never let me have as much time as I think I have. My days of max procrastination are all but over. Cole and Avery are the kinds of variables that are too difficult to predict, influence, and ultimately rely on. But they’re priorites 1A and 1B right now, and they will be for the next 4-5 years. I’ll be 40. 40. I’ll be honest. This is disheartening.

Unlike most entries, I didn’t settle on the ending first. I generally know where all of these essays are headed, but I started with the climax today. It’s taking me a little longer than usual to write; I’ve pressed the backspace button far more frequently than normal. But here we go.

You will find this in your own time. It might be later tonight when I am asleep. Perhaps it will be tomorrow during your lunch break. I know that you don’t have time to hear this or deal with this during the day, but I miss you. I hope we get to spend more of our time together over the next two weeks.



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