When…

Christmas arrives in small moments
since they're teens now and rarely grin
when sometimes anger or boredom overrule love
when the slopes seem too icy, the sky too blue for snow, the moon waning its winter brilliance

when that mountain sunrise is the only good part of your day.

when they were little, you begin to tell yourself, but the tears beat the words

and soon the day is upon us,
the cookies all given away now,
the hard-crack candy collecting that last light of day,
when they say they're tired of Christmas yet in the next breath beg its continuation

and you can feel their full presence in your life seeping away as they'll never all just do one thing together,
and you wonder when
there will be no more cookies,
no more cutting down the tree,
no more candy making or dirty bingo,
no more kids in your empty nest

when the moment ends, a softness seeps
between the long and lonely hours,
when they're always in their rooms,
when the waning winter light shines through,
when you wonder... When?

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