That night when I jumped on Ruthie’s bed, she was crying again. Oooohh. I crawled up by her face and nosed at some tears on her cheek. I purred as loud as I could and rubbed my face against hers.
Ruthie hugged me tight. “Millie, I don’t know what to do. Jake’s so sad, and I love him so much, and I don’t know what to do.” She made a big sniff. “I took him a plate of cookies this afternoon, and he said ‘thank you,’ and hugged me, but he didn’t eat any. He didn’t look happy.”
She was crying so hard she shook. Her hug was so tight it hurt, but I didn’t want to complain. I just kept purring and rubbing my nose on her face.
Ruthie took a big breath. “Jake called his mommy today and asked if she could come here to visit him for Christmas, and she said no.” She hiccupped. “I don’t know what I would do without my mommy. Poor Jake.”
Daddy came in right then and sat down on Ruthie’s bed. “Sweetie, what’s the matter?” He hugged her, and me.
“Daddy, what can we do to make Jake happy?”
“Oh, baby.” He pulled her all the way on his lap and rocked us back and forth.
“Daddy?” Ruthie took another couple of deep breaths, so she could talk without crying. “Why can’t Mommy be Jake’s mommy too?”
Daddy rubbed our faces with his big, warm hand. “Mommy is kind of a second mommy to Jake, but he also loves his other mommy.”
“Doesn’t she love him?”
“Yeah, she does.” Daddy kissed a tear on Ruthie’s face. “It’s just a hard thing, when parents get divorced. Hard for the parents, but a lot harder for the kids.”
I wondered what divorce meant. That was another people word I’d need to ask Mama about.
Ruthie pushed herself up and turned to look at Daddy, squashing me a little. “Daddy, you’re never going to get a—a divorce from Mommy, are you?”
“No, baby.” He squeezed us tight, and his voice sounded scratchy. “No.”
I wiggled a little so I could get a better look at Daddy’s face. A tear ran down his cheek.