"So Glad That You're Here"
Turq loved the big playground in
the amenity center of the neighborhood.
It had all kinds of climbers and slides
for getting into and out of the towers.
Bridges connected the towers, and
underneath one stood a picnic table.
Today Turq sat at the table with
his friends Kemi and Corbin, making
twig towers with a set of natural blocks
that Janie had made and left in
a wicker basket on the wall.
Kemi, who liked handling anything
out of nature, ran her fingers over
every twig she used before adding
it carefully to their growing tower.
Corbin, who was much younger,
just threw them together any old way,
and then whimpered when they collapsed.
"When blocks fall, take a deep breath,"
Turq said. "Then pick them up and
start again. If they never fell, then
we couldn't build anything new!"
He showed the preschooler
how to make a square and then
another square, building a sturdy tower.
Kemi held out a bag of Jumble Munch in
the China Garden flavor they both liked, and
Turq scooped out the last few ginkgo nuts.
Eileen Mersinger ducked under the tower
and said, "Time to go, kids." Then she
turned to Turq. "We're going indoors.
Would you like to come with us?"
Turq shivered. "Maybe another day,"
he said. "Sorry I'm such a mess."
"Oh, just be yourself, my dear," Eileen said
with a fond smile. She placed a hand on
the table beside his, instead of over it.
"We're so glad that you're here."
Turq's heart squeezed in his chest,
caught by the similarity to Mingxia.
"Thanks," he whispered, brushing
his fingertips across hers.
"It looks like the relief team is here,"
Eileen said as she stood and gathered
her children to leave the playground.
Turq looked up to see Parker Cassady
coming with his two daughters. Meadow
toddled along in a bright pink snowsuit,
while Savannah wore a red one.
"We're so glad that you're here!"
Parker exclaimed when he saw Turq.
"If you're not tired yet, would you like
to scramble around with Savannah?
Meadow likes the tree hoppers,
but she still needs a spotter."
Turq's hands shook a little as he
put the twig blocks back in their basket,
but it faded by the time he finished.
He was getting used to people.
"Yeah," he said. "Let's go play."
* * *
Eileen Mersinger -- She has fair skin, green eyes, and long straight hair streaked in shades of lighter and darker blonde. She is the wife of Gifford Mersinger. Their blended family began with the birth of their oldest daughter, Jerica (9), but complications from that pregnancy made it impossible for them to have any more children the usual way, a fact that Eileen still mourns. So they looked into other options. So far they have adopted two girls, Kemi Negedu Mersinger from Nigeria (8) and Yulia Cano Mersinger from Colombia (7). They also have two foster boys, Bray Elsenrath who is American with German heritage (6) and Corbin Richardson who is mixed race (5). They live in Bluehill in the Island Resort neighborhood. Eileen is an excellent full-time mother. She uses her love of the great outdoors to connect with her children and help them overcome rough spots in their past.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Mother, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Patience, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Infertile
Kemi Negedu Mersinger -- She has dark chocolate skin, brown eyes, and long black hair usually worn in many small braids. She is Nigerian, adopted as a toddler by Gifford and Eileen Mersinger. Kemi is the younger sister of Jerica and older sister of Yulia; she also has two younger foster brothers, Bray and Corbin. They live in Bluehill in the Island Resort neighborhood. Kemi is shy, but very fond of her family. She enjoys picking up interesting rocks, shells, and other objects while exploring nature.
Qualities: Good (+2) Collecting Natural Souvenirs, Good (+2) Heat Tolerance, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence
Poor (-2) Shy
Corbin Richards -- He has tinted skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and short nappy brown hair that sticks up in tufts. He is American of mixed race, abandoned by his drug-addicted mother. He is the foster son of Gifford and Eileen Mersinger. They live in Bluehill in the Island Resort neighborhood. Corbin doesn't have much physical energy, but enjoys being carried, so it's not too much of a problem. He favors board games, puzzles, and other quiet activities.
Qualities: Good (+2) Inquisitive, Good (+2) Quiet Games
Poor (-2) Tires Easily
Parker Cassady -- He has ruddy skin, hazel eyes, and short brown hair. He is the husband of Rosewood, father of Savannah and Meadow. They live in Bluehill in the Island Resort neighborhood. Parker builds things and excels at working with his hands. He can easily think in visual terms. However, he does poorly with imagining things he cannot hold in his hands.
Qualities: Good (+2) Construction Worker, Good (+2) Dependable, Good (+2) Family Man, Good (+2) Spatial Intelligence, Good (+2) Strength
Poor (-2) Abstract Thought
Savannah Cassady -- She has pale skin, brown eyes, and chin-length straight hair streaked in shades of lighter and darker blonde. She is the daughter of Parker and Rosewood, older sister of Meadow. They live in Bluehill in the Island Resort neighborhood. Savannah is restless and insists on moving all the time. Her parents accommodate this as best they can, but suspect it will keep her out of public school. At home they can find ways for her to learn that allow her to keep moving, such as letting her sit on a rocking horse instead of a chair. All that exploring also means that Savannah quickly learns about her surroundings and rarely gets lost.
Qualities: Good (+2) Energetic, Good (+2) Finding Her Way, Good (+2) Playful
Poor (-2) Can't Sit Still
Meadow Cassady -- She has pale skin, brown eyes, and only a few wisps of blonde hair. She is the daughter of Parker and Rosewood, younger sister of Savannah. They live in Bluehill in the Island Resort neighborhood. Meadow is a tough little girl, difficult to injure or upset. But she's not a self-starter, and requires a lot of prompting to get anywhere. Almost two, she's just starting to walk. There's nothing wrong with her. She simply doesn't feel like moving unless someone puts a very enticing goal in front of her.
Qualities: Good (+2) Phlegmatic, Good (+2) Sturdy
Poor (-2) Can't Get Started
* * *
This large playground is located by the lake in the cluster of amenities at the center of the Island Resort neighborhood.
Nature play is essential for healthy development. Terramagne-America offers much more opportunity for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors, compared to local-America. Loose parts and other manipulatives add to the experience. Twig blocks are cheap and easy to make. Janie periodically replenishes the stock of nature blocks. Here they are used to make twig towers.
Jumble Munch in China Garden contains dried lychees, dried passion fruit, dried white mulberries, Chinese chestnuts, ginkgo nuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, puffed rice cereal, chow mein noodles, and Chinese five-spice granola clusters.
Accepting others for who they are is a good interpersonal skill. This helps with many mental issues, such as PTSD. An accepting community and intentional neighboring support people in recovering from trauma. Here are some tips on accepting people.
Being yourself is important for health and happiness. Especially if you are coping with PTSD on your own, you need to be gentle with yourself. Learn how to be yourself and create new growth.