She dialed her dad's number, "Hey there, Daddy-O".
Her dad replied with his usual "Hiya, Stevie" (the "Stevie" always sounds more like "Shtee-bee" when he says it...and he had been calling her that since she was little).
"Um, dad, I'm going to try and not go all emotional on you, but I wanted to talk to you about something. I was driving in my car the other day and something triggered a memory of my Bat Mitzvah...which made me think of you...sitting at the back of the synagogue. It makes me sad to think that we lost a year with each other. If I could do over that year, I would.
Now her dad is not very good at serious emotion. In fact, the only person he's really capable of doing that with is her step mom. She wasn't expecting him to say anything profoundly emotional. The artist in him makes him warm and engaging...but serious conversations are usually averted whenever possible.
"You were mad and I understood why. We were both working out a lot of things and you were so young. It was too much for you."
"Thank you, dad, and I'm not angry about losing that year with you...I'm just sad it happened, sad we can't get it back"
Without hesitation her dad said, "You may have felt like you lost me, but there was not a moment where you felt lost to me. You were always on my mind and I just hoped each day that we'd work it out. And we did. There's no year to make up for because we never really lost each other."
All these years she had stifled any thoughts about what her dad must have felt during that time and more importantly what he felt about her! That year of "loss and abandonment" that she worked so hard to forget suddenly became a gift for their future...built on the strength of his backbone.