An intangible gift for my beloved Poppa Bear.
It’s your 35th Father’s Day! Not for any particular reason should this one be extra special, but I decided to do something different this year. Instead, I wanted to come here and share with the world (who reads my blog) my love, my appreciation, my fears, and my admiration for you.
My Poppa Bear. My Dad. My Daddy. My Rock. My Protector. My Coach. My Everything.
Mom, don’t get sad, you are plenty of these things and more too! I have never had to wonder what it would be like to not have you around. For that, I am eternally grateful. This isn’t something I was ever faced with, so as an adult, I can see how much it shapes a child into an adult. And for that, I cannot even describe my gratitude and everlasting appreciation for your presence in all things in my and Lil’s life.
You never got your Ryan, but not one day has gone by that you’ve ever shown Lil or me that this mattered to you. You’ve never pushed us to be people we aren’t, nor have you ever judged our decisions, actions, or choices. This is almost as important as your constant presence in our lives. You’ve set the standard for any man in our lives so extremely high, I’m not sure any man will compare to you. You are the benchmark and we would be extremely lucky to meet someone who has the amount of love, patience, and strength you do.
I cannot remember a game, a life event, or just any regular day that you weren’t there for whatever we needed — me, Lil, or Mom. You’ve always taken care of your Ganiban Girls. More than taken care of us. We are your world and we know it. But we also know that you have grounded yourself and continue to do things that make you happy and I admire you for that — solo Giants games, Softball Monday’s, or just sitting solo in the driveway smoking a cigar. You make sure everything is taken care of, but still find time to relax an enjoy life, especially with those around you.
Your jovial smile, your huge laugh, and the way you put us all at ease is something I can barely put into words. You’ve cultivated your look of aviator glasses, mustache, and Tommy Bahama shirt down to a T. Oh, and don’t forget your fancy Crown Royal bag to carry your belongings. We won’t dare call it a murse, because you’ve been rocking that thing since before we were born. It’s just you. And we love you for it, even if we tease you about it. Those purple bags, etched with gold, will forever be something that reminds me of you — being pulled out of your softball bag, sitting on your shelf in the living room, or pulled out of a secret compartment in the Honda!
You’ve never shown any disappointment in me, but I know I have disappointed you at times. And for that I am sorry. I want to be the best daughter, sister, friend, partner, and woman — as I am a reflection of you. I never want to let you down, but I know never doing this is not attainable. I hope that I do show strength, resilience, and grace when I falter. I hope you see that from you and Mom, I have learned to be a strong-willed woman. You allowed me to develop, grow, and mature into my own person. You never told me I couldn’t do anything or be anything. You were there, silently guiding me along the way, without having to say a word. And for that, for you and Mom, I finally see it. I wish I saw it as a kid, so I didn’t talk back so much, but you were always so patient with me (besides on the field, haha)!
I try not to think about life without you, but I do more so than ever. I get worried about your health and how long I have left with you. It brings me to tears when my mind wanders to the idea that you won’t be able to walk me down the aisle or never meet your future grandkid(s). I don’t know what the future holds, but I pray every day that you are here for those moments. Those moments I want to share with you, more than anything in this world! This is literally the only reason we harp on you about your food choices and going to the gym. But I think we’ve all realized, you are going to do you and nothing we can say or do will change that. So we love you. Love you like there is no tomorrow and pretend we don’t think about a future without you.
Becuase, that’s just not a possibility. You continue to be our rock, moving us when life changes, making us laugh when we are sad, or doing something small, yet incredibly meaningful when we need it most. I think people may look at us and immediately think ‘spoiled,’ which we completely are, but I don’t see it that way, per se. I see it as a woman who has been loved unconditionally by her father. You will do anything for me. For Lil. For Mom. We all know that and do not take advantage of that, for a second. We hope you feel just as loved and supported as you make each of us feel, every single day.
I know you are not perfect and there are parts of you that we don’t know or see. But honestly, you are pretty perfect in our eyes. Becuase your strength and support have never faltered when it comes to us, your family. I hope thus far, you’ve lived a life you are happy with. I hope you love the life you’ve lived, the memories we’ve made, and all of your decisions have to lead you to be happy with how it is all unfolding. I’ve never really asked you about this, but these are my hopes for you. It is very rare we see you sad, almost never. I hope that when you are/were sad, you are/were able to look at us and see something to make you smile and remember that those hard times are worth getting through. I hope if you’ve ever questioned your strength or decisions in life, that you know we support you in whatever direction you chose to go. We want you to be as happy as you’ve allowed us to be all these years.
Your ability to have fun is infectious. I love that you are up to any adventure we throw your way – stand up paddle board classes or zip lining in Hawaii. I see Grandma in you every time we do something fun or exhilarating. Your smile and your face shine bright like hers always did. You make it easy for people to talk to you, to befriend you. Your laid-back vibe is so different from mine, I find it balances our relationship.
I also want to thank you for teaching me about love. I know relationships aren’t perfect and that they require work, dedication, and love. For my entire life, I’ve watched the way you treat Mom, as a woman, as a Mom, and as your partner. Since I haven’t succeeded in this area of life, I feel like I’ve let you down. You two have shown me that true love is out there and it can work, I just haven’t found the right man yet. I think I want to find it sooner rather than later so that I can have you walk me down the aisle and you can meet your future grandchild(ren). I know there is no pressure from you, nor do you wish to see me force something that isn’t right. I forgot what you taught me and what I saw in you and Mom. But I am slowly remembering it and I promise I will only accept that in any future relationship. I admire what you and Mom have and I hope to share that with someone, someday.
I love that you still come to watch my soccer games. I love that you still want to pack an ice chest full of important things for my games. I love that you always wanted us to have AAA so that we were never stranded or scared when you weren’t driving us. I love that you taught us a man should always walk on the street side of us. I love that you drove over 1,200 miles to visit me in one week span when I was in SLO. I love that you never missed a soccer, softball, or volleyball game. I love that you took me to all of my Girl Scout Father-Daughter dances. I love that you drove and chaperoned all my dances, then sat outside Denny’s in your puffy jacket, aviators, and smoked your cigar while we ate at until 2 AM. I love that my friends call you Poppa Bear. I love that my friends include you in special events in their lives. I love that they are your friends on social media. I love that I respect you. I love that I get to try to spoil you from time to time. I love that you cultivated a love for sports within us. I love that you taught us to be strong, physically and emotionally. I love how you get mad at the quirkiest (to us) things. I love that you let me grow, fail, and change as I am meant too. I love that you always ask if I want a bottled water when I leave your house. I love that you will always let me move home if I need too. I love your teethy grin when we ask you to smile for our pics. I love your sarcasm when we gave you five professional photos one Christmas. I love that you always cook us delicious food. I love how easily you care for people around you. I love how safe and secure I feel with you and when I’m not with you. I love your presence. I love that we share the same love for the Giants. I love that we can silently watch sports together. I love that you love going to the movies and always buy us popcorn. I love that you are the least judgemental human in my life.
There is so much to love about you, but none of it comes close to being the fact that I love being your daughter.