Kate left the rest of the decorations in the box, so that Sarah could help her put them out later when they had time. The remaining ornaments were made of wood or felt and Sarah wouldn’t be able to hurt them. Kate made a list of items she’d like to buy including some lights, stockings and gift wrap.
Looking at her day planner, Kate decided she and Sarah could celebrate the holiday on the 18th. She didn’t think she would cook a big meal, but they could have ham and invite Mrs. Pettigrew, Jen and Kelly if they were here, and of course Spencer. This schedule gave her about 20 more days to shop.
Just then her phone rang. “Hello?”
“Hi Kate, it’s Lauren.”
Kate wondered why John’s mom was calling, but she said, “Hi” in a normal tone.
“How are you and Sarah doing? Did you have a good Thanksgiving?”
“We’re fine and yes, we did have a nice Thanksgiving, thanks for asking.” At least it was until the phone call ruined it.
“Good. Dale and I would like to invite you and Sarah up for Christmas if you don’t have other plans. John’s brother, Timothy, will be back and we’re sort of having a small reunion.”
Kate was silent, thinking. “I would love to, but I’m actually deploying on the 20th. We were going to celebrate early.”
“Oh, dear. I’m sorry to hear that. Well, we’ll be here, and Timothy and Judy will be here on the 7th, so it’s up to you. You’d be most welcome. And we have plenty of rooms available in this rambling house.”
“Can I think about it?” Kate didn’t think she’d go, but she didn’t see a problem with at least thinking about it first.
“Certainly, I didn’t expect an answer right away. But call us in a few days or so and let us know, okay?”
“I will, thanks for the invitation. I’ll call you soon.”
Kate hung up, considering a trip with a two-year old and luggage, presents and coats, a car seat, diaper bag and—
The ringing phone interrupted her thoughts. Maybe it was Mrs. Kern again. “Hello?”
“Kate, it’s Spencer.”
“Hi,” she sighed. “Sorry about —”
“It’s okay. When do you have to go?”
“The 20th.” Kate plopped in a chair at the dining room table, fidgeting with the phone cord.
“I was wondering if you wanted me to watch Sarah for you if you needed to do some shopping.”
“I do. And I want to get a few more decorations too.” They made plans for her to shop later in the week while he watched Sarah. He had reassured her they would all do what they could to keep Sarah safe and happy while Kate was gone. She hung up, hoping so.
Until next time,