This is Mazzy and her best friend Alice, after she spent a weekend at our house, right before they said goodbye. It was a bittersweet weekend, because although Mazzy was looking forward to it for weeks, it was also the last time Mazzy will see Alice before her family moves back to Australia. It’s hard for Mazzy to wrap her brain around, since she and Alice have been in class together every year since kindergarten, but Australia is actually home for them. NYC is the place they were visiting.

I tried to make Mazzy feel better by telling her that I also had a best friend who moved away when I was her age, but then Mazzy’s next question was, “Are you still friends with her?”

I had to say no, we lost touch. But then I added that it’s so much easier to keep in touch with people these days because of email, FaceTime, Instagram, etc. Maybe my friend and I would still be in touch if we had all the modern modes of communication available now.

Even so, Mazzy and Alice are determined to stay friends the old fashioned way.

This past Saturday, Mazzy went to retrieve the mail from the mailbox at the end of our driveway, one of her favorite things to do at the house since it’s so different than opening our little mailbox in the lobby of our building in Manhattan. It’s usually just fliers and penny savers (since our real mail comes to our apartment) but this time, Mazzy found a pink envelope with stickers on it, addressed to her.

It even said, “Only for Mazzy to Read” in bold letters, just in case I got any ideas.

Mazzy was so excited to find that letter and after reading it (whatever it said), she wrote her own letter back, which involved a drawing, a note and a few mystery items stuffed into a band aid box that I was not allowed to see.

We packed it up to send and discovered that the post office is an easy bike ride away. When Mazzy gets a little older and more confident on her bike, I imagine she’ll be making that post office trip to send her friend “special presents” on her own one day.

When I was a kid, I always wanted an international pen pal, so maybe that is silver lining in all of this— Mazzy will have a real one. It’s a pretty cool thing to have someone to share perspectives with on the other side of the world. Mazzy is also asking me when we can visit, so I had to break the news that Sydney is really far away and a very big trip. I showed her plane ticket prices to drive it home for her.

Still, I promised we would make it there one day.

(Hey, Australia! Let me know if you are ever looking for a good family travel story! I’ve got one for you!)

And Alice, if your mom shows you this, thank you for being such a good friend to Mazzy. I feel very lucky that she got to be in the company of you and your lovely family for the last four years.