Column: What was lost can be found

"He would come by my house a lot to pick me up and we would go out to eat at cafes along with my little sister, Reimi."

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Kenzi Gray

"As I sat my tablet down onto the kitchen table, my head rose to see the one person I had been wanting to see for years."

“Bye, daddy, I love you!” my 5-year-old self yelled, hugging him one last time before I jumped into the car with my mom. 

He waved back and said, “Goodbye kiddo.”

Saying goodbye was one of the hardest moments of my life once I understood why I wasn’t able to see my dad. In situations such as this one, I wasn’t sure how to feel. I was only a kid and I was given the little information I could handle. He was my world and I was his little girl. I wasn’t blood-related, but blood has nothing to do with family.



Three years rolled by and I kept thinking about the past. I grew up knowing the dad I remembered. It wasn’t easy missing him, especially when I was left without an explanation. My mom was always there to protect me, not hurt me. She carried these burdens on her chest because she understood why I was so hostile toward her when all I wanted was to see my dad again; to see my world.



Soon after my 13th birthday passed, I sat in the dining room chair, watching hilarious YouTube videos before I heard someone knocking on the front door. As I sat my tablet down onto the kitchen table, my head rose to see the one person I had been wanting to see for years.

My dad.

Kenzi Gray
“I am ready for a new beginning. I am ready to see my dad again, and this time, it won’t be my final goodbye.”

Not only did my dad step through the door with my mom, but with a little girl in his arms.

His little daughter, Reimi.

I was so confused and I didn’t understand what was going on. He and my mom got back together and the news surprised me yet gave me an incredible feeling. My dad smiled and pulled me into a tight hug, a hug I had been missing for years. Reimi soon became a huge part of my life and I am proud to call her my baby sister.

After I saw him, I went to his house almost every weekend with my mom to spend time with him. I was closer with him than my mom was, and that was OK. She knows he was the dad I knew as a child.

It didn’t last for long, unfortunately.

I was so elated I didn’t expect things to go down south from there. The weeks began to turn into months where my mom and I would see my dad before they split up again. I was devastated to say the least.

Since I was older, I continued to spend time with him even after they split up. He would come by my house often to pick me up and we would go out to eat at cafes along with my little sister. Spending time with him made me realize he truly does love me and would never intentionally hurt me. Reimi calls me her older sister to this day, I couldn’t be happier.



It was four months after my 15th birthday when I received the news from my mom that there would be changes happening that had me devastated. Originally, I grew up in Longview, Texas and we were moving to the Dallas area with my uncle, Duane. My mind swarmed with thoughts I didn’t like, nor wanted to happen. I begged my mom to let us stay, but I knew there was no convincing her otherwise. I didn’t want to leave my friends, hometown, my dad or my grandparents. This was my home.

I cried in my room for two hours before I forced myself to accept it. My dad hated the idea, but he understood we would be able to see each other someday, but it would have to wait. Months turned into years. Those years were dreadful and long. I didn’t enjoy it, but patience was key.

I hadn’t spoken to my dad in three years in person and I was still waiting for the day I would reunite with him.

Every time my dad and I would speak on the phone, Reimi would be in the background always wanting to talk to me. Hearing her voice for the first time in so long broke my heart because I never asked to talk to her, I only ever asked about her. My dad understood this and told me she asked about me as well. This made me smile and close my eyes. She wasn’t mad at me, she was never mad with me for not speaking to her.

When I turned 18, I spoke to my dad more frequently as time went on. I went home from school and would either text him constantly or I would call him. We have become inseparable and he is almost like my best friend.

Once graduation hits in three months, I will spend quality time with my dad like we used to. The only thing that would change is that I have another sibling, a brother named Vincent and my dad married another woman, Bekah. She is really sweet, kind and funny to talk to from what I have witnessed through phone calls with my dad.



Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 is the day I reunited with my dad for the first time in years. Seeing his face brought me to tears and I felt relieved to be in his arms again. I missed him so much; I can’t wait to see him along with Reimi and her beautiful smile, to be able to see Vincent in my dad’s arms for longer than just a weekend.

I am ready for a new beginning. I am ready to see my dad again, and this time, it won’t be my final goodbye.