“Missing Dad,” Friend, Sept. 2011, 42–43
“See you in a couple of weeks, Jaylee,” Dad said as he stopped the car in front of Mom’s house. He gave Jaylee a hug. “Love you.”
Jaylee hugged him tight. “Love you too, Dad. Bye.” She grabbed her duffel bag and walked slowly up the sidewalk. Then she turned and waved to Dad until his car disappeared around the corner.
Jaylee took her bag to her room and sat down on her bed. Her stepdad, Kyle, and her half-brother, Jesse, followed.
“How was your weekend?” Kyle asked.
“We went to a movie, and Dad helped me ride my bike,” Jaylee said.
Jesse ran over to Jaylee and put a toy car in her lap. “Jay-Jay, play cars!” he demanded.
“OK.” Jaylee didn’t really feel like playing, but she let him pull her by the hand to the toy box. She knew Jesse missed her when she was at her dad’s.
Soon Mom came home from visiting teaching. “Jaylee!” she said, hugging her. Jaylee hugged back but didn’t smile.
“Feeling sad again?” Mom asked.
Jaylee nodded. She couldn’t explain the heaviness that filled her whenever she came home from Dad’s. “I’m happy to see you guys,” she said, rolling a car over to Jesse. “I just … I don’t know. It’s hard too.”
Mom squeezed Jaylee’s hand. “I know you sometimes feel very sad about the divorce. One reason might be that you have two homes you want to be in and two sets of people you want to be with. It makes sense that you feel homesick for your dad.” She patted Jaylee’s hair. “You know, Kyle and I have been talking and praying about how to help you feel better, and we had an idea. Come with me.”
They walked down the hall to Mom’s room, and Mom pulled a small box out of her closet. Inside the box, Jaylee found a gold heart on a chain.
“It’s so pretty!” Jaylee said.
“The heart opens,” Mom said. She helped Jaylee open the heart so she could see two tiny pictures inside.
“It’s Dad on one side and me on the other,” Jaylee said.
“Yes,” Mom said. “You can wear the necklace whenever you feel lonely for him.”
“I get it,” Jaylee exclaimed. “It’s like he’s in my heart!”
“And you are in his heart too,” Mom said, fastening the locket around Jaylee’s neck.
That night as Jaylee knelt to pray, she held the locket open in one hand. She thanked Heavenly Father for her mom and her dad. Then she thought about her stepdad and stepmom; her cute brother, Jesse; her stepbrother, Spencer; and her baby half-sister, Vanessa. She thanked Heavenly Father for them too. As she prayed, her heart began to feel lighter.
After she finished her prayer, Jaylee carefully put the necklace back in its box. Then she smiled as she ran to hug Mom and Kyle good night.