Warning: This poem touches on some sensitive issues. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It contains serious separation between adults considering divorce, extreme emotional upset, distressed children, asking for help and getting it, rejecting offers of comfort, crying, refusing to cry, and other whump. If these are touchy topics for you, consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.
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When the doorbell rang, Danso went
to answer it. He found Mrs. Durante on
the front porch with all three boys clinging
to her. "He -- he left me," she said,
wiping a hand over her wet face.
"Mommmm!" Danso hollered
over his shoulder. Then he opened
the door wider. "Come on in."
Eduardo was trying not to cry.
Fernán sniffled and wrapped himself
around Danso. Gil just plopped onto
the floor and started sobbing.
"Amada? What's wrong?" asked Hannah
as she hurried into the living room.
"Faramundo left," said Mrs. Durante.
"He went ho--back to Springfield."
"Let's go into the kitchen,"
Hannah said gently, draping
an arm around the younger woman.
"You can tell me all about it."
Danso bent down to pick up Gil,
and the toddler hid his face
in Danso's soft cotton shirt.
"Who wants to watch Semolina Lane?"
Danso asked. "There's a new episode
coming on in a few minutes. We were
just about to sit down for it when
you all came to the door."
He herded the children toward
the television. Lakia and Nathaniel
already sprawled on the floor with
a blanket, Rosita tucked between
them on her froggie nap mat.
"Should I get extra snacks?" Hadyn asked.
"Yes, but our moms are busy in the kitchen,"
Danso said. "Just get whatever you
can find from the snack cabinet."
"Okay," said Hadyn. She handed out
baggies of bunny snacks, mixed nuts, and
chocolate-covered raisins. There were
granola bars, too, and loose granola in
a square tin painted with plaid stripes.
Rosita whimpered and crept toward Danso.
He picked her up, nap mat and all.
Gil made way for her, squeezing
between Lakia and Nathaniel.
Fernán still clung to Danso, but that
was okay. Danso worried more about
Eduardo, who had curled alone in
a chair, still trying to be brave.
"You know, it's okay to be upset,"
Danso said to Eduardo. "That's why
your mom came here, looking for
a shoulder to lean on." He could
hear her crying in the kitchen,
even though the sink was running.
"I'm fine," Eduardo said, although
his lower lip trembled as he spoke.
He grabbed a random book from
the shelf. "I'm reading."
"Suit yourself then," Danso said,
not wanting to push too hard.
He remembered all too well
that basic, wrenching emotion
of loss and how much worse
it could get when people wouldn't
let you alone for a minute.
Instead Danso snuggled up
with the younger children
as Semolina Lane came on.
Ekaterin, a very small Floppit with
fur in cheerful African daisy colors,
fussed unhappily with a ribbon.
"Oh oh," Danso said. "It looks like
Ekaterin is having trouble with her
hair bows again. Who do you
think will help her today?"
"She should just shave her hair and
go bald like they do in prison," Lakia said.
"I doubt that would make Ekaterin
any happier," said Danso.
"Maybe her parents that adopted her
can fix her ribbons," said Fernán.
"They did with her dress that one time
when they went to a nice restaurant
and she wasn't used to dressing up."
"I bet Nancy helps," said Hadyn.
"She has lots of foster kids and
does all their hair for them,
even the cornrows."
On the screen, Ekaterin
stuffed her wayward ribbons
into a pocket and set off
in search of help.
Sometimes when things went wrong,
you just had to know where to turn.
* * *
"Anyone with a heart, with a family, has experienced loss. No one escapes unscathed. Every story of separation is different, but I think we all understand that basic, wrenching emotion that comes from saying goodbye, not knowing if we'll see that person again -- or perhaps knowing that we won't."
-- Luanne Rice
Separation is full of pitfalls, but it doesn't always lead to divorce. Understand how to cope with a breakup, how to co-parent during a separation, and how to help children handle it. You may also need to comfort a friend during a breakup. Fortunately Amada and family have good support for this.
This is the froggie nap mat.
These are the bunny snacks. Best gummies ever!
Childhood neglect or abuse can cause a variety of problems, among them a tendency to imagine awful outcomes for any scenario. This makes it challenging to parent children who have survived such trauma.