“Nana, why doesn’t daddy like mommy anymore?”
I was stirring the pot of chili that we’d made at home that morning. It was a simple recipe using mainly canned ingredients so that it was easy and engaging for my seven-year-old grandson to help create.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and swallowed my tears as I fixed a smile on my face before turning to the kitchen table. Cody was working on homework and didn’t look up.
“Well, Coco, sometimes mommies and daddies don’t get along and can’t live together anymore. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love you, though.”
He stopped his homework long enough to look up at me with those chocolate brown eyes exactly like his mothers. I’d give anything in the world to take away the hurt that both sets of eyes held the last few months.
“I know they love ME, Nana. But I want daddy to love mommy. I want us to live together like we used to in the big house.”
My heart broke a little more. “That was a good time, sweetheart. We’re having good times in this new house, too. And there will be so many more. I promise.”
“But not with daddy. He’s always with Chrissy and her kids. We don’t have parties in the backyard and no one comes over to play anymore. It’s not fun like it used to be with mommy and all our friends.” His little face looked so sad.
How do you explain divorce to a child? Three months had passed since my daughter began a new life as a single mother. She was doing her best to be strong and I was doing all I could to support her, which included lots of babysitting and cooking so she could work. I don’t believe in lying to a child but I also didn’t want to burden my grandson with the harsh reality of the ugly separation.
“Things change, Cody. I don’t know how to explain it to you. Daddy decided he wanted to be with Chrissy instead of mommy. I don’t like it either, but we can’t change that. We can help mommy make this new house fun. I know she’ll be decorating for Halloween soon and you love that. And in a few months it will be Hanukkah. Let’s ask mommy to have a party and we’ll cook a special dinner for everyone.”
“Daddy always made the latkes. Will you make them this year, Nana?”
“Only if you’ll help me. We can make our own special recipe.”
I kissed the top of his head. “You know that you make mommy and me very happy because you are such a good helper.”
“You make me happy, Nana. I love when we make good food together. Can I stir?”
Written for the To Live & Write in Alameda November 2019 “Flash Lit” Challenge #5. We had three days to write a piece of fiction, non-fiction or poetry of 500 words or less to the theme “Made at Home” and post the link in our group.