I opened her door and saw her huddled on the floor, holding onto her stuffed panda, Floppy. Her eyes were red-rimmed and her face was puffy. “What’s this I hear about you getting to red today, Emma?”
“I’m so mad, Daddy,” she said, hugging her bear to her chest. “Mommy hasn’t apologized to Bella and every time I see her brace, I just want to call her and yell at her.”
“Emma, there’s a reason why Mommy hasn’t apologized to Bella,” I said, sitting down on the floor. “The night that Mommy hurt Bella, she was arrested. Taken away by the police. Well, she was so upset that she lost the opportunity to see you that she hurt herself.”
“What did she do?”
“Have you heard of the words, ‘commit suicide?’” I asked, fearful of my daughter’s reaction.
“That’s where you kill yourself, right?” Emma replied.
“Yes. Um, Emma, Mommy tried to commit suicide while she was in jail,” I answered. “She’s been the hospital for the past two weeks.”
“Is she going to be alright?”
“No, sweetie. Grandma and Grandpa Stanley are here to stop the life support machines,” I said, looking at my baby girl. She was playing with the panda bear. Tears were falling down her cheeks. “I’m sorry, Emma but your mom is going to die.”
“Is it my fault?” she whimpered.
“No, baby. It’s not your fault. Mommy was very sad and she thought that this was the only way out,” I said, pulling her into my lap. She played with my watch as she nestled against my chest. “I’m worried about you, Emma-bear.”
“Why can’t everything be as it was before we moved into the house?” she whispered. “We were happy.”
“We can be, Emma. But, things are complicated. We need to work together. As a family,” I said as I kissed her strawberry blonde curls.
“Is that what we are, Daddy?”
“Yes, Emma. I love you, so much. You’re my world, baby girl,” I muttered.
“What about Bella? When she will be officially a part of our family?”
“Soon, baby. Very soon,” I answered. “For now, we are an unofficial family. I love you and I love Bella. I promise you that I will make Bella an official part of the family in the near future.”
“Not that fast, Emma,” I said dryly. “Now, in regard to this red business. You are grounded from the computer and PSP for a week. You will only be allowed your nightly story and Floppy in your room. If you don’t get anymore reds the rest of the week, you’ll get your American Girl doll back. Also, tonight, you need to write a letter of apology to Ms. Denali for being a disruption in her class.”
“Okay,” she mumbled. “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
“I know, angel,” I said. “Now, my butt is falling asleep and I think Bella’s done with dinner.”