An excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Money:
Jaime’s days were filled with classes, homework assignments, and friends in the lunchroom, yet her dad’s well being was always in the back of her mind. School work came easier to her than the other girls in her class. Cliff was frequently surprised by his daughter’s steadfast ability to look at a situation and do what needed to be done, as if she were 20 years older—quite mature for the tender age of 11. He worried that she was missing her childhood, opting to come straight home after school instead of joining the Girl Scouts like her friends. Most weekends were spent helping her dad clean and other chores that, though needed to be done, shouldn’t be done by a child in grade school. Jaime should be out riding her bike, climbing trees and having sleep overs. Instead, she worried about her dad, like he worried about her.
When her mother, Callie got sick, they decided to hide it from Jaime for as long as possible. Being a sensitive girl she knew something was wrong and became very restless, frequently waking in the middle of the night crying or she’d go to her parents room and crawl in bed with them. After several months of this they knew their little girl was in distress and owed it to her to explain what was happening. All the tests confirmed the inoperable cancer with a name Cliff could neither spell nor pronounce at first.
How do you tell a small child their mother is dying. What does an 8 year old even know of death? Can they fathom a beginning and an ending of this thing called life? Cliff and Callie were desperate for answers. In the end they knew it was best to tell her now while Callie was still strong and healthy enough to live life as normally as possible, to give Jaime wonderful memories. They agreed to tell her on a Friday night and took her out to Pietro’s pizza, a family favorite, even allowing her to have a Coke. Later they took a walk along the river where there were street vendors selling hot dogs, cold drinks and souvenirs. The ice cream vendor was there too.
“Mommy, Mommy, can I get an ice cream?” They looked at each other and knew they couldn’t say no on this day.
“Yes, honey, you may have ice cream, but only one scoop!” her mom replied, handing her some money. She ran ahead as they continued to walk slowly, arm in arm, smiling at the small girl who was about to get a big blow.
Stay tuned for more from THE MONEY, coming very soon!