I remember the feeling when she walked out the door. The soul-crushing memories of unplaced phone calls and missed holidays. It was easy for her to leave. It would have been so easy for you to leave too. For you to take the easy way and walk out the door. You would’ve avoided so many struggles and fights. You could have done the leaving, I know this because she did. She left which means you could too. You did not though. You stayed and showed up every single day. You fought for us and picked us. You always stayed and for that I thank you.
Staying wasn’t easy. It involved mental illness, surgeries, growing pains, siblings fights, and financial struggles. Sure we also had weddings, family growth, and incredible development but those came later and those hard times were still really hard. You never failed though, you were right there to fight for us and to be the one person we could always rely on. It’s hard to fully trust someone to stay when you’ve been left by someone so significant. You took the insecurity that she created and remind us every day that you are not leaving. You encourage trust because you stay. You didn’t cause our cracks but you fixed them with pride and without resentment.
You did more than just physically stay though, you went above and beyond. You encouraged without hesitation, you loved without expectation and you nourished without demanding reprisal. You understood that we were torn and broken. You knew that you would have to rebuild three children. You did that back then, and continue to hold us when we fall now. What people do not always realize is that the kind of pain we experienced never truly goes away. Some days it feels raw and new. You knew and continue to know this though, you encouraged us through the bad days and cheered us on through the good.
You handled all the challenges thrown at you with ease and dedication. You let us know that things aren’t always easy but they are worth it. You taught us that sometimes you have to go through the hard times to come out at the beautiful ones. You gave us lessons about forgiveness, openness, and moving on. You showed us how to prioritize and reminded us that we are important. We feel worthy and loved because of the influence you have on our life. You are the most important man in the world and for that, I am in awe of you.
It is hard to accurately thank someone for saving your life, but that’s what you did for me. You became the person that I can always count on. I can cry on your shoulders, I can always have a hug and I can tell you everything. Those things make me know that I am supported and encouraged to be my authentic self. That self has flaws and challenges, but to you, that self is still as precious as a newborn. You remind me every day that I am not broken, I’m simply stained glass, the cracks let my light shine through and my colors are always breathtaking.
To the man that stayed, I am the luckiest person in the world to have you as my dad.