Tonight my Daughter re-told me the story of the evening when her Father left her alone in our first home. Flashbacks of that day went racing through my mind. I clearly remember the phone call that sent me rushing home from the office. It had been a long time since she had mentioned the occasion, and she still explained the night exactly as before. But this time there was a slight deviation in her memory. She added a specific fact that was so quintessential of an alcoholic, I'm surprised she never pointed it out before.
Nicole explained this time that she always knew when her Dad was about to leave her by the ritual he performed before rushing out to the store. She recalled being coaxed to my bedroom by the promise of Sponge Bob in Mommy & Daddy's cushy bed. She wanted to ask if her little sister could join her in that king size retreat, but she knew he would leave her upstairs in the crib.
While she was talking, I had a sick feeling that this scenario happened more times than I knew. This time there were two things that my girls Dad did not plan on disrupting his calculating plan. As Nicole watched Spongebob, she heard the doorbell ring. She described to me in detail how she peered out the small window looking out on our front porch. She did not recognize the man she saw staring back at her.
As any 5 year old girl would do, she told me how she called for Daddy while roaming throughout the house. When she could not find him, the fear that she was alone with a stranger soon set in. I smiled to hear that her first instinct was to climb into the crib with her little Sister! I know now that my girl is so motherly and protective for a reason. She recalled how she covered herself and her Sister with a blanket and called me from the home phone. That was the second thing Nicole's Dad did not plan for.
At this point in her story, I was silently pleased to see that her memory had began to fade. She noted a few more highlights of that momentous night, many things of which I have chosen to forget. My mind started to wander as she concluded. I was thinking how thankful I was to finally hear some contentment in her voice. I could tell she was starting to understand her situation and accept the fact that her Father is an Alcoholic. I hated to even remind her that it will be 4 years on Father's Day since she had last seen him. That is certainly not an Anniversary a little girl should have to mark on her calendar.
p.s. Nicole has only told her story to a handful of people, so you should feel honored if you ever hear it in person.