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Thanks to You (An Open Letter to my Dad)

I can’t imagine how you must feel, having watched me turn from a little beansprout to a  full grown human. How strange it must be to watch the tiny human being you created go from so mini and innocent to a mature, (mostly) self-sufficient woman. Thanks to you and how you raised me, though, I’ll always be that same little beansprout – growing, changing, and green.

Thanks to you, I’ll always be full of wonder and curiosity like I was when I was younger, and my childlike zest for life will never subside. The one thing you always wanted was for the world to not turn me cold, even when times get tough.

And the world, well, it will never make me bitter, for you raised me in sugar. You always told me  when I was doing well, and when I’ve done poorly, you told me that too but in the kindest of ways.

You’ve been gentle and kind 99% of the time, so when you weren’t, I knew I messed up. I think the only time you yelled at me was when you caught me in a lie. I don’t lie anymore.

Thanks to you, my version of success is not skewed (maybe to other people, but that’s alright by me). We were poor when I was young, but I felt much more happy and loved than a lot of the children with parents who don’t struggle with money. I’d felt so bad when you’d spend your last dime on a candy bar for your sweet girl, but now I don’t, because I know it brought you the most joy. That’s the best thing about you – your ability to feel joy by giving it to others.  You saw my smile as success, the same way you saw Tuesday nights when we’d play badminton ‘til the mosquitos flooded Great Grammy’s yard. Then we’d go in, and I’d do cartwheels in front of the TV while you two tried to watch the Office, stuffing your face full of mini Market Basket coffee cakes while we waited for our Hungry Man dinners to finish spinning in the cooking-machine.

It never seemed like a chore to you, spending time with your family and helping them when they were in need. That’s one of the best things about you, too. There are a lot of those, though.

Thanks to you, I’ve learned to pick myself up and dust myself off. You did that for me for awhile, and showed me how. You’ve always been great at leading by example.

Thanks to you, I see the realest parts of life in a light that makes every day more enjoyable. I find humor in silly little things (and, honestly, things that aren’t so silly. If you can laugh in a hard situation, you’ve won). I laugh every day and all the time thanks to you. Things are funny. Living is funny. Isn’t it strange, how we live?

I don’t have very high expectations for having fun. You taught me that high quality company is what counts – so I’ve surrounded myself with the very best people – and even when we have nothing, we have everything. I owe that to you.

You’re always talking me up, even when I can hardly talk myself up.

You give me a lot of credit for being my own person, and not enough to yourself for the way you raised me. I’ve inherited a few things from you, so you molded me into a gentle but strong, patient and kind, hopeful but real, honest and courageous young person, who isn’t afraid to live each day to it’s finest, and for that, I thank you. I can’t thank you enough. You’ve always been my best friend, and as we age, we grow closer in heart no matter the distance between us.

Thank you for blessing me with the wonderful experience of a perfect father and daughter relationship… There are a lot of people who don’t have that. You nailed it. A++.

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