At Daddy's on Saturdaysby Linda Walvoord Girard
Although her parents' divorce causes her to feel anger, concern, and sadness, Katie discovers that she can keep a loving relationship with her father even though he lives apart from her.
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At Daddy's On Saturdays
By Linda Walvoord Girard, Judith Friedman
ALBERT WHITMAN & CompanyCopyright © 1987 Linda Walvood Girard
All rights reserved.
The Saturday that Daddy moved away because of the divorce, he packed his blue car and a small trailer full. He sweated and puffed, but Mommy didn't help. And Katie was too sad to help.
When Daddy was finished, he knelt down next to Katie. He tried to explain things one more time. "Mommy and I can't live together anymore," he said. "We fight all the time, and we make each other unhappy. I don't want to leave you, but I have to." It was cold, and his words made white puffs. He circled Katie in his biggest hug. "I don't have a phone yet, but I'll call you Monday after work. I'll be here next Saturday to see you. I'll always be your Daddy."
Then he rolled out of the driveway in his blue car and was gone.
"Katie, come on in," Mommy called. She made hot chocolate and held Katie on her lap. For a while they rocked quietly.
That weekend, Katie was so sad she didn't want to do anything. She told her doll, Trisha, "You have to go away, too!" She threw Trisha into the wastebasket. Trisha was Katie's best doll, but that's how Katie felt.
She knew Mommy and Daddy quarreled a lot, but why did they have to get divorced? It seemed like some- body was throwing somebody else away.
All Monday, Katie's chest was like a heavy stone. When she woke up, she was happy for one second-until she re-membered Daddy was gone. He didn't come in to say "Rise and shine!" His chair at the breakfast table was empty. It seemed like there was a big hole in the air, next to the back door where Daddy's snow boots used to be.
While everybody else practiced subtracting in school, Katie studied the clouds. Her favorite lunch tasted awful. Walking home, she quarreled with her best friend.
When Daddy called from a pay phone that night, Katie felt even worse. She could hear traffic behind him, and he sounded as far off as the moon. After he hung up, Katie cried, and so did Mommy.
On Tuesday, Katie took Trisha to school. Trisha never left Katie all day.
Even with Trisha and the children near, Katie felt alone. And her thoughts were a jumble. One minute she tried to pretend Daddy was on a little trip. He hadn't really GONE AWAY. The next minute, she didn't care how far away he was. If he wanted to leave her, she'd just erase him, like a problem from the blackboard. The next minute, she worried that Daddy would be all alone at Christmas! Most of all, she was confused that Daddy and Mommy could stop loving each other. If that could happen, Daddy could forget her, too.
Mommy guessed how very terrible she felt when Katie wet the bed that night. Mommy changed the sheets and tucked her back in.
"You're sad, Katie. So am I. It's okay. We'll feel better someday."
But someday was a long way off.
On Wednesday, when Katie came home from school, there was a letter waiting for her! Mommy read it out loud. It said, "Dear Katie: Here is a very important phone number. It's mine! Now you can call whenever you want. Love, Daddy."
Katie dialed the number FAST, and Daddy answered on the first ring. "I hoped you'd call right away," he said.
Daddy told Katie what he was doing. Just now he was moving the sofa. For the third time. "It looks funny, Katie," he said. "You have to come Saturday and help me figure out where to put this stuff. You like moving furniture!"
Excerpted from At Daddy's On Saturdays by Linda Walvoord Girard, Judith Friedman. Copyright © 1987 Linda Walvood Girard. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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