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TITLE: Life is What You Make of It (Chapter 3) and 4)
By Karen Macor

This is chapters 3 and 4 of a book written for children in crisis. The first two chapters are also posted in the critique circle if you want to see them. For every page of writing there is a corresponding page of pictures not posted.
Chapter 3: Mom

“Hey Benny, I was wondering, do you miss Mommy?”

“Sometimes I do, Baruch. I often wonder why she let us be taken away from her. Sometimes I even get mad at her. I don’t understand why she would leave us when we couldn’t even look after ourselves.”

“I don’t understand either. I miss her so much. I know the dog is doing her best to be my mother, and I really like her, but I don’t want her to be my mother. Our mother did everything so much better.”

“Do you know what the dog told me, Baruch? She told me she lost her Mommy when she was little too. I wonder who taught her how to be a mother.”

“I bet the woman taught her. The dog and the woman seem to get along pretty well. The dog always follows the woman around. I even hear the woman telling the dog to watch the kittens, or find the kittens.”

“Do you think we should do what the dog does?”

“I think so. I think we should listen to her too. Do you realize she taught us where to go to the bathroom, and she taught us how to ask for treats from the man and woman? She also taught us how to groom ourselves.”

“Now that you mention it, Baruch, the dog protected us the other day too. Remember when the big stray dog came into the yard? We ran for the door, but it was closed. Our Mom, (oh I mean the dog,) chased the other dog off, and barked for the man and woman to come and help. Do you remember? The woman chased the other dog off with the water hose, and the man came and got me. Mom, (there I go again,) the dog ran to you and protected you until the man could pick you up and put you in the house. That stray dog was huge. Mom is a lot smaller, but she fought for us. I think she’s earned the name, “Mom”. I’m going to call her Mom. She cuddles with me, she plays with me, she teaches me things, and she protects me. I think that’s what moms should do. I’ve heard moms do those things because they love you. I love the dog. I won’t forget our mom, but I think the dog is doing a good job of being mom to us.”

“I guess you’re right, Benny, but I just can’t call the dog Mom. As good as she has been to us, I feel like I’m forgetting our mom if I call the dog, Mom.”

“I don’t think the dog will care. It’s how you feel about the dog that counts. Why don’t you just call the dog by her name? The woman calls her Logan.

“I could do that. I think I will let the dog know I love her, and ask her if I could call her Logan. Did you hear me growl the other day? I’m learning how to talk like Logan. Do you think she will like that?”

Chapter 4: Dad

“I don’t remember a dad in our lives, Benny. Did we have a dad?”

“I don’t recall ever knowing a dad either, but I heard the veterinarian telling the man and woman that you and I are brothers, and have the same mother, but she thinks we have different fathers. Did you know everyone has both a father and a mother? Even if we never saw him, we still have a father. The veterinarian said your dad was probably part Bengal and that’s why you look the way you do. My father was probably a Tabby like me. Even though we have different fathers, we are still brothers.”

“What do dads do, Benny?”

“We’ve never had a dad around, Baruch; so I asked Mom, and she said she’d never had a dad around either. She told me that humans have dads around more than animals. She said that she’d watched the man and woman, and it looks like dads do much the same thing as moms. They provide for the needs of the family; giving them food and clothes, a place to live, love and attention. They help moms with the children. It’s like they are a team.”

“We don’t have a dad living with us. Does that mean we aren’t a family?”

“The other day I heard the woman talking to someone who called her Grandma. She told that little girl that everyone is born with one mother and one father. They will always be their birth mom and dad. Then she said sometimes families don’t stay together and other people take on the roles of mom and dad. That’s like what happened to us. We got a new mom. Logan is an only dog so we still don’t have a dad but lots of families have only one parent living with them. The woman also talked about another type of family. She said sometimes moms and dads don’t stay together and a new woman or man becomes part of the family. If that happens then the children still have their birth mom and dad but they may not live together. The children call the new woman or man in the family step-mom or step-dad. This is all very confusing to me.”

“It confuses me too, but I think it sounds like one family doesn’t have to be the same as another family. We all have one mom and one dad to start with, and families are still families even if changes happen.”
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