I replied, "I'm sorry, but I have way too much work to do this weekend. I have to file my taxes and I need to catch up on laundry. I have bills to pay and I really need to find a third job. I should probably go to the grocery store and I have some writing to do too." The kids looked disappointed, but they didn't argue or try to persuade me to take them. I'm afraid they know all too well just how difficult this single-parenting thing is for me. And I hate that.
I looked at their dejected faces and wanted to shout, "The heck with the work! The work will always be there! Let's go!" But if you've ever been in a position where you can't even buy a gallon of milk until you're paid in another week, then you understand that even though you passionately want to say those things, you can't always form the words. This weekend, however, I squished my eyes shut, blinking back the unshed tears that seem to perpetually burn the backs of my eyes, and I tamped down the nausea and burning pain in my gut and I said, "You know what? Forget what I just said about work. Let's go!"