All thoughts. All feelings. All emotions. It became a mirage. An illusion. “Thank you for Christmas morning. Now everyone put on your happy faces and have a good afternoon.” The insanity of it all makes me question “Did I really live my life like this all these years?” How can that be? All of it creates doubt in the corners of my mind. But that’s intentional right? He even asked T “What was your mother doing in the car?” He thought somehow T would see this as my fault. But T knows. His reply “Mom didn’t do anything” indicates he knows. But why should he be subjected. There was a calmness in my response that I repeated after every yell “you can not treat me like this.” In a sense, it was my mantra. But the threat yelled at me on the highway “DO YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF THE CAR?” was truthfully tempting. I did actually. The music was then intentionally turned up so loud that T could not hear me in the back seat. The speed of 80mph was intentional as our newly licensed son tried to follow us. D saying he just wanted to drive alone or with his younger brother simply because “I just want to drive” was only a cover for not wanting to be in the car with him. It’s suffocating. So toxic. So the hour long drive, I retreated to a place of nothingness. Because truly being present in that moment would have resulted in a catastrophic breakdown. I was texting my mom however because it all was boiling inside of me and I needed to vent. And then retreat. It was a game I played with myself in order to hold it together. My brother started to then text me to come to his house. Oh, how much I wanted to go there. And so as my insides turned and twisted, I put my game face on and held it together. Not for me though. For them. For my boys. But really was that the right thing to do?