Bea is a fairly typical young girl who, at one point, thought she lived a fairly typical life. She had a mom and a dad, and they all lived in a typical apartment in New York City. She went to a typically boring school, where she wasn’t all that great a student, but still pretty typical herself.
Yada, yada, yada.
But then one day she’s called in for a family meeting with Mom and Dad. And in the space of a “New York minute” everything starts changing in her life. The first thing hits her like a sledgehammer when she finds out her parents are getting a divorce! And at the same time, she learns that her dad is gay!
Over the course of the next few days, weeks and years, change happens all the time. She now has two homes, two rooms, two beds, two pets. And she has a new schedule … for everything. Then her dad gets a boyfriend named Jesse, and then they get engaged. And that means she’s going to have a new sister, too. But her mom is left out of family outings with her aunt, uncle and cousins. And Bea can’t help but miss having her there—there are so many reminders of Mom that seemingly only Bea can see.
On top of those swirling changes, Bea starts feeling angry and sad in ways she isn’t used to. She starts doing angry things to kids at school. Her eczema is flaring up, like, all the time. And she has to start seeing Miriam, a therapist who helps her think through things and adjust to the changes in her life.
Besides Miriam, though, there’s one other thing that helps Bea quite a lot. It’s a small, green, spiral notebook with a green pen (her favorite color, by the way) that her parents gave her during that fateful family meeting back when she was 8. In it her parents wrote down a list of “things that would never change.”
“There’s still a lot you can count on,” Bea’s dad told her when he handed her the notebook. And when she turned the first page she saw six things listed in Mom’s even hand.
- Mom loves you more than anything, always.
- Dad loves you more than anything, always.
- Mom and Dad love each other, but in a different way.
- You will always have a home with each of us.
- Your homes will never be far apart.
- We are still a family, but in a different way.
Those six things help. Bea reads them over and over again when things are hard. And she slowly expands the list herself when things are good.
Life is filled with so many changes. Some good, some not so much. But it’s definitely good to find things that stay the same. Those are things Bea keeps an eye out for.