My weight and my mother's cancer grew together. When she was officially diagnosed with breast cancer, I was seven years old, about 65lbs, or whatever's normal for a seven year old girl soft with baby fat. The diagnosis was late. The chemotherapy started soon. A few months later, she was mostly bald.

We had Parent's Day at school, when moms and dads could come eat lunch in the cafeteria with their kids. My mom was honest with me, said she wanted to come but wasn't sure if she could. So, when lunchtime came, my heart ka-thumped and I said a prayer and tried not to be too obvious in my search for her, as my class entered the hallway, single file. If she came, I didn't want her to think I'd ever doubted that she would.

She did come, and she brought a friend from church, Faith Pelam. Faith had taken her that morning, she told me, to buy a wig. Mom was beaming. The wig looked so natural and stayed in place well. It was such a gift to see her happy, so proud to blend in with the other moms. By then, I'd gained twenty pounds, my heart heavy with love for her, feeling the foreshadowing of a loss I refused to anticipate.

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