26. Tantrum

Mom and her five grandchildren make the cover

of a new cancer book:  “The Smile Never Fades.”


My daughter, my nephew, and my oldest niece

smile big, hopeful smiles, almost as bright as Mom’s.

My son tries not to smile, while still looking supportive.


My 2-year-old niece, safe in my mother’s arms, wails.

She’s done being nice.

As soon as the photo shoot is over, she shrieks,

sticks her thumb in her mouth,

throws herself on the floor.

If I could, sweetheart,

I would grab my blankey,

lay myself down next to you.

You won’t have to smile anymore.

I promise.