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  • Right before he ended it, my mom bought me three white ceramic cereal bowls. "You went from a family of one to a family of three, so I thought you needed these," she remarked and I spent a moment in the golden gratefulness that comes along with belonging. A few short years before on Christmas, my sweet ol' dad gave me a George Foreman grill "for one" and I cried for several straight hours afterwards, fearing I'd spend the rest of my lifetime grilling up healthy chicken breasts alone.

    Unexpectedly, I met him and fell in love. Two years later, when the holiday season returned, I was aching for the warmth of my huge Lebanese family and most of all missing my sweet ol' dad who had battled cancer (but lost.)

    Christmas morning, the three of us were sitting in his car, braving the tantrum that sent her kicking the back of his seat and referring to me in the third person. "Santa is checking his list' he warned, but I knew that Santa wouldn't be able to help us. Later she'd tell him--secretly and confidently--"Lorrie doesn't belong in our family." He didn't disagree with her.

    A few days later in their kitchen, I went to get some ice cream and she snapped the bowl away from me. "This bowl is too special for you," she stated. I guess somewhere down deep we all agreed. I didn't foresee this would be the last time I was in their home. The end came swiftly, and laid waste my expectations. Although, if not for the holiday blues, I might have seen it coming.

    I take an inventory in the aftermath: a handful of unanswered questions, a George Foreman grill for one, and three white bowls to remind me of the family that could have been.
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