A Letter to My Six-Year-Old Self:
Dear Little One,
I know you don’t think anyone notices or sees you, but I do. I know you don’t think anyone sees how difficult your six-year-old life is right now, but I do. I know what Daddy does behind close doors and I know where you go when you close your eyes. I know he told you that this is what all dads and daughters do and that if you tell anyone, Mommy wont love you anymore. I know you think you’re all alone, but you are not.
I can promise you that things will get easier. Soon, Mommy will figure out what has been happening. In the middle of the night, she will leave with you and your sister. You will have to disappear for a while and it will be scary not knowing anyone, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, Mommy has super powers. She is the strongest woman in the world. You’ll end up in a place called Strongsville and Mommy, sister and you will move in with Grandmother. Grandmother will become your best friend; so don’t be afraid to talk to her because she has a super power too; she can read minds. She knows what you’re going to say before you even say it. Daddy will eventually find you and he will try to take you with him; the grown ups will call it “kidnapping.” Don’t be afraid. Your Uncle will call his friends in blue and white. They will rush in like they do on your favorite K9 Cop movie and get to you right before you get on the plane. You’re going to go through a lot of scary things, but I can promise you that you will survive because you are brave!
You’ll go through years of what the grown-ups call “the trial.” It’s a scary word, but it’s how Mommy is going to fight to keep you and sister safe. After years of the trial, the judge is going to tell Mommy that you have to spend summers with Daddy at his house 5000 miles away. The judge won’t believe Mommy when she tells them what Daddy did, so you’re going to be told you can never talk about it with anyone until your eighteen because if you do, Mommy could go to jail. I know keeping this secret and spending summers, Christmases and Easters with Daddy seem scary now, but you’re going to be strong enough by then to handle it. This is where you’ll learn to forgive him. And don’t worry, you’ll be able to talk about it one day. Want to know another secret? When you do get to talk about it, your words will help other little girls just like you. You’ll learn you didn’t do anything wrong. You’ll learn Daddy was broken too and that’s why he did what he did. You’ll learn to forgive him and you’ll learn to forgive yourself too.
You will also go to what the grown-ups call a “counselor.” Don’t be afraid when you walk in and see a strange woman in bright red glasses that make her eyes look like bugs. She has a sand pit and a wooden trunk full of stuffed animals. Play in the sand and talk to the animals, they will help you get better. You’ll overhear her telling Mommy you have scary things in your head called “multiple personalities.” It’s okay. This doesn’t make you broken; it makes you unique and beautifully creative. The multiple personalities will explain why you can’t remember eating your dessert when you did and why you got in trouble for taking your sister’s doll when you don’t remember doing it. The people in your head showed up when Daddy came into your room. It was your way of escaping and going somewhere else. They actually showed up to protect you. They won’t be around forever because eventually the lady with the red glasses will help put you back together again. Just trust her, she knows what she is doing. You’ll be a whole person again.
You are a survivor, sweet girl. When you are finally allowed to share your story, some of your friends will tell you that you made it all up. It’s not their fault they don’t believe you, so don’t be mad at them. As hard as it will be, love them anyway because loving people is your super power. You’ll choose to move back to the same town that took your innocence because you’ll be determined to find healing there. And find it, you will. You’re going to have that little yellow car and calico kitten you always wanted. You’re going to fall in love. By this time, you’ll be happy again my darling; “run through the sprinkler on a hot summer evening and chase the ice cream man down the street in bare feet” happy. I can tell you all of this in confidence you see, because I was you. Take heart, little one, because we make it.