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Lumiukko Puumalassa

The downside of living in the Northwest Arctic was having no neighbors to invite to Christopher’s birthday parties.

For his fourth birthday, in January, Maggie built him a snowman. Though she was the only one to sing Happy Birthday that day, Christopher had a great time with his friend, Frosty. He wished on his candles for a black top hat, like the one in the story.

In August, when the ice over the lake melted, Maggie caught Christopher sneaking out early to go swimming.

“Never without me,” she’d told him, time and again.

In December, Maggie built another snowman.

In January, she hung the silver birthday banner above the door of their log cabin. Maggie stood near Frosty, and sang Happy Birthday for her little boy. It was a mother’s duty, after all.

The upside of living in Alaska was not having to worry about anyone judging her for having a birthday party for her son, who’d drowned that summer.

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Published in Random Rambling

Jess

Jessica West (West1Jess) is pursuing a state of self-induced psychosis (reading, writing, editing). She lives in Acadiana with three daughters still young enough to think she's cool and a husband who knows better but likes her anyway.

0 Comments for "A Mother's Duty"

  • Kate

    A heartbreaking story… Made me really sad… But at the same time it’s really wonderful & reading it u know it really could happen… & that makes u even more sad… But it’s true pure sad beauty of the written words… reality that u really can feel 🙂

    Reply
    • Jessica West

      Thanks, Kate. Something about the holidays always makes me sad. Brings to mind all the what ifs.

      Reply
      • Kate

        Yeah, I feel same about them… Though I hope for the better every time (or at least try). & I really enjoyed your story ^_^

        Reply
  • Karen

    Sad – and beautiful at the same time. Thank you, Jessica.

    Reply
  • Kristen

    Great story, Jess. Didn’t see the tragedy coming, as I was feeling the tragedy of the boy’s loneliness. Well done.

    Reply
    • Jessica West

      Thanks, Kristen. What’s really tragic is that even if she were surrounded by loved ones, she’d still feel that loneliness in her grief.

      Reply
  • Nillu Nasser Stelter

    This one makes me ache Jess. You want to protect your kids, but things are not always in our control. Parents are only human x

    Reply
    • Jessica West

      Very true. And no matter what the case, when something goes wrong parents will always blame themselves for failing in their duty to protect their children. Even when things are outside our control.

      Reply
      • Nillu Nasser Stelter

        Yes. Complex issues and you explored them in 150 words. Hats off to you madam 😉

        Reply
  • jabe842

    Wow … that one lanced through my chest. 150 words! Amazing how you made such a tiny breath of story sing such a resounding song! Splendid work!

    Reply
    • Jessica West

      This is incredibly encouraging, especially coming from you! Thanks so much!!

      Reply

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