Two House Lilly

Category: Chapbook for Tweens

Author & Illustrator: Candace J. Hardy
Paperback ISBN: 9781616336691; 1616336692
eBook ISBN: 9781616336707; 1616336706

Lilly Ferris’ life is a calendar of Red Weeks and Blue Weeks as she moves between life with her dad and his new family and her mom and Grandma Ada. It takes a family crisis to convince her that two families isn’t a bad thing.

 

 


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I hate being ‘two house Lilly’. That’s what Nathan Michael’s calls me; he and his dopey friend Josh. I live in two houses, it’s true. Every other week I live with my dad, Brian Ferris and his new wife, Adrienne. They have four other kids, so I know what it means to be a fifth wheel.

And every other week I live with my mom, Kathy Ferris. My mom and dad have the same last name even though they’re divorced because my mom never remarried. At least not yet. I’m working on it.

The good thing is that they both live in the same neighborhood, so I didn’t have to change schools when the big split happened. That’s what I call it—the big split.

The bad thing is, they don’t speak to each other. Ever. I say goodbye to one parent in the house, and then haul all my junk to the car where my other parent is waiting to whisk me off to their house.

Every week. Both parents. Of course some of my stuff stays at each house; jeans, sneakers, a basketball, some stuffed animals—that sort of stuff. Most of my stuff stays at my mom’s house because that’s where I was when they split and my dad moved out. It was ugly and loud. I hated it.

Then Mom and I sort of worked out a routine that included every other weekend with Grandma Ava, my mom’s mom. She’s only 55 years old, kind of young for a grandma, I guess.

For a while she was in our lives a lot. Then she decided that Mom needed to be more independent. She grumped a lot about my dad when it first happened; lots of conversations about “that awful man” and “I could have told you 10 years ago when you first went out with him”. Then I’d show up in the doorway, and she’d shut up real quick; sort of stammer around and look down at her hands like she suddenly realized she had a hangnail or something.

Now she doesn’t mention him so much. It’s like she’s decided this is how it is, and there’s nothing she can do about it. Sometimes I pick up bits of conversation like, ”you’re still young,” or “wouldn’t you like to try again, maybe find someone special?”

But usually not when I’m around.

At Dad’s house, it’s really different. Dad and Adrienne have a new baby, Nadine Ruth. To be funny, I call her Baby Ruth, like the candy bar. And Adrienne throws back her head and laughs like it’s the funniest thing she ever heard.

“ Lilly, you’re a hoot. You should do stand up comedy. Did you hear that, Brian? You’ve got one funny kid here.”

Then there are the twins, Joey and Cloe. Who thought that was a good idea. They’re six and just started first grade. They’re really cute, but they get into everything. The first week I was at dad’s house after he and Adrienne got married, the twins went through my entire backpack looking for candy. Adrienne’s a stickler for nutritious snacks, so if it’s not fruit or what she calls pre-approved you might as well forget it.

(continued)

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