I know this is hard. I know you feel like no one will understand, and they probably won’t.
It’s hard for other 6 year olds to understand why your dad is all over the news. And why your lips are covered in cold sores because you’re dealing with the kind of stress no person should ever have to deal with, let alone a child.
It would be impossible for other 6 year olds to understand what it’s like to take care of your mom who was beaten too close to death. Or what it’s like to deal with the real threat of being kidnapped by your father.
I know you spend all of your free time at school picking four leaf clovers hoping they will bring you good luck, or at least somehow magically take all of the pain away.
But, Samantha, you can do hard things. All of this will culminate in you having more strength than you ever thought was possible.
Your father will not kidnap you. I hate to tell you that you should still be cautious, but it’s a good idea — he is crazy, after all.
You will have friends. You will have people in your life that you can count on to help you deal with pain. I’m sorry you’re seeing so much pain at only 6 years old, but eventually others will catch up — that’s part of life. People will see things worse than you have seen.
Most importantly, you are not alone.
You have angels watching over you. Mom will get stronger and she will protect you. Your school will protect you. Just stay away from Hebrew school — no good will come out of being there.
If you must know, the closest your father will come to actually kidnapping you will be at Hebrew school. Also, being dyslexic, handling all of this, and trying to learn Hebrew is too much for you to handle. You are strong, smart, and brave, but subjecting yourself to that is just too much. Keep demanding to get out of there — it will eventually work, even though mom promised Pop pop you would be bat mitzvahed… that won’t happen. She will feel a little guilty, but she will get over it. So, no use spending any more time there.
All of that having been said, you need to know you are smart. You are not an idiot and you don’t need medication. You are dyslexic, and you will get the help you need. I don’t need to tell you this because you know, but you will need to work harder than everyone else. But, you will have help. Just be patient and keep working hard.
Samantha, you are loved and you are lovable. Even though your father will not be in your life, you will be ok. You know it’s better that way. You will see your brothers again one day. And you will have family. Family comes in all shapes and sizes. People you call family do not have to be related to you by blood. You will build your family, and you will always find community.
I know it’s hard, but you have to try to keep your head up. I know you never want to smile. I know you feel like you have nothing to smile about — on top of everything else, you have messed up teeth and a uni-brow. You don’t like the way you look or feel. But smiling isn’t about other people, it’s about you — smiling will help you feel better.
I know you’re afraid that if you smile, people will come closer, but that’s really what you need. You need friends to come closer. You will have to learn how to let others in. Go be with the horses. Be with them as much as you can — it will help.
Also, the teeth and unibrow are fixable. I know this is hard to hear, but try not to worry, you will grow up and become a beautiful woman. You will not have trouble finding gentleman suitors when you’re ready for them. But you’re just a kid. I know you barely think of yourself that way, but you are. So try to remember it.
I love you, little girl. If I could take away some of your pain, I would. But, you will become one hell of a woman.
With lots of love,
Thank you Frank McKinley for the challenge to write a letter to myself as a little girl.