As Papa reaches another decade, I sit back and feel grateful and so much love for him. Every step of my life, he has (for the most part) encouraged and supported me. From my baby steps to today, as he and my mother have taken on care taking for my two pets as I am away on a new adventure.
I struggle to be concise, because as I have grown, our relationship also did, changing right along side us. As my first steps evolved to running, speaking, laughing, reading, he would inspire that. He gave me space to use my creative, curious, child mind; encouraging me to have an unlimited possibility mind set. When I struggled with my ability to speak English after returning to the states from Spain, he advocated for me in the school system that seemed focused on labelling me; calling me dumb, separating me from my peers. He vocalized, strongly, throughout my life that I was not intellectually impaired.
He taught me how to have a confrontive conversation with someone and that it wasn’t a “bad” thing… more of an irritant if you would have asked my adolescent self. Sitting myself and whichever sibling down at the dinning room table and hashing out whatever issue had been brought to his attention… and we, as a household, were not quiet. Showing us that we could resolve our conflicts with talking; teaching us to compromise, to forgive, and those talks allowed us to understand the other persons perceptive and the importance of hearing that to fully understand what happened.
As I grew into a young adult, he supported the best he could, my schooling and progression towards not just one degree but 4. He gave me life advice when I would share my struggles, he would read all my papers, editing them and in the process, helped me develop my own writing skills, and with that, resulting grades and opportunities. I had chosen to move away from my family, for school and various other reasons, and Papa and Mama would visit, as frequently as they could… using their vacation time to hang out in my apartment, waiting for me to get out of work or school to spend time with. They had to drive 4 hours to do this, a task they did not enjoy, and would fill my cabinets with food, worried about their emptiness, and explore the area with me.
In my thirties I had a rough patch that effected all my relationships and yet we weathered through that storm as best we could. As I began to trust myself more; feel empowered and in touch with who I was, what I needed, he didn’t try to stop the wild ideas I was having… He listened and supported, I am sure he cringed with worry on the inside, as I started shifting from conventional living to quitting my jobs, renting my house, and hitting the road with no finite destination for landing. Just the need to wander, the need to continue to peel the layers away from myself that had been holding me hostage, paralyzing me with fear.
I say all this and do not want to mislead; we’ve had many moments when we were not eye to eye. When communicating was a challenge to one of us, or both, for one reason or the other. I have challenged him, he me, we have fought, we have resolved out differences, and we are still working on our communicative patterns…. Because, really, when does one stop working on those?
Papa has always been with me, always willing to talk out any problem I had, hear any happy tale I have, and I know he would do anything he could to help me. Even though I am not there to celebrate with the rest of my siblings on his actual 70thbirthday, I send my love. All of it to him, and hope that we have decades more to share; to laugh, to cry, to debate, to encourage, to inspire, to provide feedback for growth, to support each other, and to love. I love you Papa, always.
~Krysta, Austin TX
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All Love Letters’ are pristine, posted as they were received. Please forgive any spelling and grammar issues, since the writing was done in the throes of love, and sometimes love doesn’t care about commas or misplaced letters.