I love you, Papa.
Those words seem too small right now. Too small to express what I feel welling up in my heart. Too small to convey what arms and lips fail to communicate.
Do you know how often I brag about you? Do you know how much I love your sense of humor, your wit that’s sharper than any razors I’ve ever bought? Do you know how blessed I am to be your grandson?
You have been and always will be a source of encouragement and confidence to me. At times, I’ve shared with you things I couldn’t trust to my own parents.
Do you remember when I was ten and the doctor told me that I had Attention Deficit Disorder? Disorder is a frightening work to a ten-year-old boy. A bottle of Ritalin by my sink didn’t help either.
The next morning, I sat in chapel at school. I couldn’t sit still. I was anxious, terrified that something was wrong with me. But I looked up and saw you sitting at the front of the sanctuary. When chapel ended, I told my teacher I wanted to talk to you (there were a few perks to being the grandson of a member of the school board). I ran to the front and found you. I have no idea what I said, but you sat me down on that front pew and listened. I told you what the doctor said. I never said it, but you knew how scared I was. Then you prayed for me, told me you loved me, and told me everything would be okay.
I’ve never told you what that meant to me. I heard the word disorder and thought there was something wrong with me. They told me I was underperforming in school; I heard I wasn’t good enough. I was scared. I was ashamed.
But then I went to the smartest, strongest, most talented man I knew. I half-expected you to echo everything the doctor and my teachers had told me. But you didn’t. Instead, you hugged me; you kissed me; and you told me you loved me.
I was scared. You weren’t.
I thought something was wrong with me. You didn’t even acknowledge it.
I expected rejection. You opened your arms and hugged me.
Do you remember that morning? I’ll never forget it.
I love you, Papa.
Those words seem too small right now. But they’re all I have to give.
Thank you for loving me like you do.
With all my heart and soul,