To My Papa Bear on His Birthday (kind of)

You are my first love.
No other person will ever have my heart like you do.
You taught me what adventure is,
and have never ceased to encourage me since the day I was born.
You taught me my love for the sea,
and how to be truly fearless.
You taught me what hard work looks like,
and the benefits of working hard.
You taught me what love is.
I remember one memory from my childhood so distinctly.
I got in trouble for something and was sent to my room.
As I sat there pouting, I remember saying out loud to myself,
“No one loves me,”
not knowing you had just walked in.
You came right next to me,
looked me in the face and said
with so much love,
“What did you say? Everybody loves you.”
And you hugged me and held me, saying over and over
“I love you.”
But you also taught me to be tough.
After my first heartbreak, you gave me one night to cry and, again, you held me.
After that night, though, you started in on making him the butt of all of your jokes.
In that stage of my life, you taught me how to laugh even during seemingly unbearable situations.
You taught me unconditional kindness.
You always say that it’s your worst characteristic,
that it can be a disease at times to be so nice.
Maybe that’s true, maybe people do walk all over us,
but what a gift to be able to love others so selflessly
And, most importantly, you taught me how to balance all of these things.
How to balance adventure and hard work,
When to be tough and fearless, and when to be unconditionally kind,
And that love should be a part of every situation.
You’ve always said,
“He who cares the least wins,”
however, you always make sure it is closely followed by,
“But that’s no way to love someone.”
Thank you, Dad. Happy Birthday 😃
p.s. technically your birthday was two weeks ago, but that’s okay, it’s okay!

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