50. After Advent

I was thirteen the first time I decorated

the house for Christmas. Mom had just

finished radiation for her second round of cancer.

She couldn’t get off the couch, so I did everything.

I offered to decorate her house when the cancer

returned again, but she did it all before I came.

The next Christmas, she only decorated the little tree,

the one that used to stand in my room.

This year, the stockings didn’t even make it to the mantle.

I skipped my ski trip and stayed home with her.

Next year, she’s sure she’ll feel like doing more.

And if not, I’ll do it up right for Dad.

Go right ahead.

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