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.