A recent Sunday afternoon, the day after The Birthday Celebration That Almost Wasn't. My mother, my sister and I are in Target shopping for bookends. I say nothing about the night before but I am so, so sad, and it shows. My mother takes one look at me and understands.
"Don't be upset, sweetie. Your friends love you, it was just a difficult night for them to make it downtown, with the rain and all."
I nod and swallow back tears. She squeezes my hand and kisses me, and my heart unclenches a little bit.
Then Mom leans forward, squints at a spot just above my forehead and says,
"Is your hair getting thin?"