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Print - Highlights in the Classroom
Good Night, Pumpkin
By Geri Kolesar
Art by Robert Squier
Yesterday was perfect.
Today stinks.
Yesterday, Dad and I made a giant
snowman. We stayed outside so long I
turned into an icicle. Then Dad built a
big fire, Mom wrapped me in warm
blankets, and we ate
That was
yummy soup and bread.
yesterday,
When I got sleepy,
when
Dad carried me
everything
upstairs and tucked me was perfect.
into bed. “Lilah tov,
Pumpkin,” he whispered in my ear, like
he does every night. Lilah tov is Hebrew
for “good night.”
That was yesterday, when everything
was perfect.
Today there’s a truck in our driveway.
Not that a truck is a bad thing. Unless
it’s hauling your dad’s stuff to the other
side of town.
“I’ll see you tomorrow morning, Izzie,”
Dad says, giving me a hug.
I barely squeak out “bye” before
stomping up to my bedroom. My dog,
Sammy, licks my face like everything is
normal. But, really, nothing is normal.
Especially my belly, which feels like it’s
turned inside out.
I’ve had lots of stomachaches since
Mom and Dad told me about the divorce.
Last week, I had to go to the school nurse
three times. She told me I would feel
better when I got used to the idea. But I
don’t want to get used to the idea.
I want to cry, but my tears are stuck.
“I’ll see you
tomorrow,”
Dad says.
© Highlights for Children, Inc. This item from www.highlightsteachers.com is permitted to be used by a teacher free of charge for classroom
use by printing or photocopying one copy for each student in the class. Highlights ® Fun with a Purpose ®
“Daddy?”
never have fun again.
I wait for him to say “Lilah tov,
Pumpkin.” But all he says is “See you
tomorrow.”
Like I said, today stinks.
When I crawl into bed, there’s
something scratchy under my covers. I
reach down and find an envelope. It says:
To Izzie. Love, Dad. I open it and pull out
a picture of a pumpkin. It’s not even near
Halloween.
Great. Not only are my parents getting
divorced, my dad has forgotten the month.
I turn the pumpkin over and see the
words Lilah tov written on back. I hold
the picture to my cheek and think of Dad.
Then I think of something else.
I open my top drawer, pull out my
favorite swimsuit, and lay it on my
dresser. Just in case.
Today stinks. But I have a feeling
tomorrow will be a little better.
I punch my pillow instead.
When Mom tells me it’s time for dinner,
I tell her I’m not
Nothing is
leaving my room.
normal since
“Ever?” she asks.
Mom and Dad
“Ever and forever,”
told me about
I say.
the divorce.
Mom leads me
downstairs anyway.
She sits across from me.
Dad’s chair is empty. We
I turn the
don’t talk. We don’t eat.
pumpkin
The phone rings.
over.
“Hello?” I say.
“Hi, Iz.”
My heart stops. “Daddy?”
“My new apartment
building has an indoor pool,
so bring your swimsuit
tomorrow, OK?”
“I don’t want to go
swimming.”
“Well, think about it,” he
says. “It could be fun.”
But I don’t want to have
fun. In fact, I’ll probably
© Highlights for Children, Inc. This item from www.highlightsteachers.com is permitted to be used by a teacher free of charge for classroom
use by printing or photocopying one copy for each student in the class. Highlights ® Fun with a Purpose ®

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