For two years during my childhood, my dad lived in New York. He attended a theological seminary where he would become the wonderfully competent priest that he is today (yes, Dad, I’m sucking up). He would leave in the middle of the night to avoid the city traffic, and before he left, would wake us up to say good-bye. I remember this time in my life well. It felt a little like it did when my ex-husband left, but worse, because at six years old, you don’t understand that daddy is coming back no matter how many times the grownups tell you that it’s true.

My mom found this letter that I had written him while he was gone, and with each painfully misspelled word, the memories flooded back. I remember waking up mid-sob, like I had already started crying in my dream because I knew the clinging to his neck for dear life and watching the way my mom would try not to hurt so much for him was coming. I remember standing at the front door hugging her and yelling for him to “Come Back!” I remember breaking down in tears the whole next week in my first grade classroom. And I remember crying softly to myself when I heard my little brother finally break down once he was alone in the bathroom. He was only four, and for whatever reason, felt he couldn’t cry in front of us.

The bottom of my letter got cut off in the scanner. It reads, “frum Nikol”. That says it all, don’t you think?

P.S. He did come back, in case you were wondering.