After the third week in a row of 10 hour days, I began to hear that we would, once again, be working Saturday.
I was tired. Just plainly tired. Tired of trying to fit everything into one lone Sunday. While I'm grateful that I am an early shopper, still, there were the little things that I was not able to do. I haven't sent our Christmas cards. I have not baked one Christmas cookie. William and I have a tradition. He and I go out to do the Christmas shopping for his mother and Don together. We come home and we wrap those things, and it makes him very excited to sneak them under the tree when he thinks that no one is looking.
But this year, I just haven't had the time.
I kept thinking, 'only one more weekend...if it doesn't get done this weekend, it's not going to happen', and that made me determined to (at the very least) get our shopping tradition done. It's a big part of William's joy.
But then, I heard them regretfully discussing the fact that we would be required to work Saturday again, on top of those 10 hour days, our third 58 hour week. I mulled it over and then I went to talk to my supervisor. "I'm sorry," I told her. "I have plans and I cannot work Saturday. Truth be told, I don't think I'll be working the two hours overtime Friday night."
She didn't say anything, but she did not look happy with me. To be honest, I was beyond caring. I'm tired to death. A little boy (he would hate to hear me call him that...he is almost a teenager in his mind) would be missing out. I went back to my desk and returned to work.
Later that day, she let me know that my time off request was approved. In my mind, their approval was merely a formality, but I thanked her anyway.
So I left work Friday on time and I came home. William got dropped off and he was excited to do his Christmas shopping. Quite surprisingly, Grandpa even joined us. William carefully selected his presents. We also got the makings for our Christmas cookies.
Saturday morning, I slept until I woke up (8AM) and then made french toast and sausages for breakfast, and we quickly got that cleaned up so that we could begin our baking day. We made four batches of cookies: iced sugar cookie cutouts, molasses cookies, date filled cookies and chocolate chips.
Once that was done, William and I sat down and wrapped his gifts together, and he curled the ribbons, tied on the candy canes and carefully filled out the labels. He lay across the carpet when we were done, dreamily watching the bubble lights. As he played with some gold garland, it reminded him of Jacob Marley who wore the chains he forged in life and he explained to me what that meant.
I listened, acting as if I never properly considered it before.
I'm glad I put my foot down. I didn't lie. I had plans. Important ones. More important than work.
Because one day, I too will wear the chains I forged in life.