The truth is, the best Christmas present I could give my colleagues was to be helpful by delivering cookie trays.


I didn’t have to order them.

I didn’t have to pay for them and wait to get reimbursed.

I didn’t have to pick them up at the baker’s and wait in line.

I didn’t have to deliver them to all the schools we serve.

All I had to do was stop by the Tulsa office while I was nearby, put them in my car, and drive them to the Bartlesville office.

How hard is that?

Well, it’s not.

Except for when you wake at 5 for your own personal quiet time, deliver kids to school at 7, try to start your work day before Christmas cancellations begin, get a call that Three and Sister are leaving for sure so please bring all their Christmas presents immediately so they can be shipped to the new placement out of state, and try and do that before the cochlear implant mapping appointment a million miles away in Tulsa, and oh yeah you forgot your annual review is right now.

Oopsie, as Toddler would say.

Finally, I got all the cookies in my car, started off, and then thought better of it and pulled over and rearranged all eight trays – because the last thing I needed was a cookie disaster.

Then, more patients, which runs late, which means Nathan has to pick up Five and Toddler for visits in the other county, which was at the same time as I was at the Scholl Center in Tulsa trying to get medical records for Six faxed to my doctor so she can get scheduled for her cochlear implant surgery (maybe).

Sigh. We found out her deafness is from abuse, and that if she gets hit in the head again, she will probably be completely deaf. So they want her to get the implants, but are debating about doing it now or when she turns 18.

Anyway, so after I finished my work and errands, I had to meet Five and Toddler in the other county, because Nathan had the van with the car seats for Three and Baby, so he had to get back to pick them up, and Six, who was done with her visit here.

Five again said he doesn’t want visits, and even told his father he doesn’t want to be there. But on we go, and this is our life until termination trial in February. Toddler had paternal termination tomorrow, for “unknown father”, and for the guy on the birth certificate but proven by DNA not to be the father. There is no way I can go to court tomorrow with the chaos of the holidays, so I hope the worker lets me know what happens and that there are no surprises.

That was our discussion with the workers before Nathan headed back to pick up the kids from his parents’ house. Except after he left, we realized he had my purse, and I needed gas to get home.


So he had to turn back to meet me in Owasso, of all places, so I could get gas… which meant we had to tuck our tails and just tell DHS that we couldn’t pick up those three today and ask for help. So an aide picked up those three, and took them to Nathan’s parents’ house, while Nathan headed there to pick them up and get them home finally.

I was stuck in Owasso because just as I was getting gas, guess who emerged from her three months of isolation and silence? Our very own Keyssie, who was then back in Tulsa, mad at the boyfriend, and ready to talk to us again.

It’s a boy, by the way, as we now know.

By then my kids were starving and I needed to breathe, and I remembered my challenge in my annual review this morning, to do better self-care. So I took the kids by our yellow house in Owasso to buy some time while I thought about our options. It made me cry to see it, and Five still doesn’t understand why we let people pay us to live there when he would live there for free.

Five also wanted to go in the backyard and play and see how our giant garden was doing, and I had to redirect him while cringing at the sting of the loss of that garden. I really miss it, but know it serves its role in providing for me those years and healing me from the deaths of my parents. Their souls are in that dirt, and my soul is in that soil. We were knit together there, my parents and me, as I planted good things and weeded out the noxious.

Five and I felt prompted then, to go check on Grandpa and Grandma J, so I drove to the Johnsons and crashed what turned out to be her birthday party… which included healthy snacks and memory meatballs, and my kids were fed and happy… especially happy about their first ever bites of cheesecake! Their home was a temple space for me, and as the kids played I got to visit and rest and sit quietly and gather myself together again. That helped, and I felt stronger and ready to get us home.

As we left, I got another call, that Three and Sister will be leaving this week for sure, so to please pack all their clothes but two outfits, and have it ready by 7am to pick up. I will be gone by then, with no time to do it in the morning, so soon as we got home and I tucked in Five and Toddler, then I crept into their dark rooms and stole their clothes. I got their bag packed and by the door.

And only then, at 1145pm, was I finally free to deliver the cookies.

It’s nearly a cookie fail, and definitely cookie drama, but truly my cookie best,

And now my car smells like cookies, and I may never eat cookies again.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


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