‘Break someone’s head, if you have to but don’t come home in tears. I can deal with any problem but I can’t stand to see you cry.’

Since I was little I have heard these words.

Who would give such unusual advice to a little girl?

My Papa!

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My papa was no stereotypical parent, who yelled at failures and rarely acknowledged accomplishments. He is a modest man who has always been open about his strengthens and weaknesses (me).

Yes, he was and is, very protective, like every father is to their daughter, but he taught me to be strong, to believe in myself and to stands up for myself.

He encouraged me to think and to form my own decisions based on experience and not on society’s preconceived views and notions.

When I was young, he was the protector who bolstered my confidence and gave me the strength to carry on even when I was wrong. When I took missteps, cheating on an exam or failing an exam, I was never berated but every accomplishment achieved through honest work brought not only looks of pride but also words of pride.

He taught me to be strong enough to do the right thing even when it is difficult.

Most importantly, he challenged me to be more than just a simple small town girl.

Over the years as I have grown, our relationship has grown and evolved. I am no longer his weakness, I am his strength. While he has always been my source of strength and belief, now, he is my weakness.

I guess that is just a part of growing up.

Thank you for loving me and may you have all the health in this world, my beloved papa!

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