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.