On the 10th of December 1959, he was born. His strong yet soft features made others wonder what kind of man he would one day become. From a Spanish father, and half Italian half French mother raised for a part of her life in Indochina, his story was only just beginning. He was raised in a warm household, often wanting to partake in the cooking with his mother, but confronted by his father, saying it wasn’t his job to be in the kitchen. Nevertheless, his passion for cooking and learning from his mother different ‘womanly’ things never stopped him. Sneaking in to help when his father wasn’t home thrilled his afternoons with excitement.
From a young age, sports were an outlet. Becoming strong and agile in judo and rugby, he found his friends and passion. Goofing around and making jokes about life and each other woke his soul to compassion and enjoying the small pleasures in life.
His sensitivity and awareness of his emotions painted him as not being ‘a real man’. What makes ‘a real man’ anyways? If anything, being in touch with your emotions makes you a real human, regardless if you’re a man, woman, alien, or donkey.
At school, though, he was questioned by teachers and peers by his never-ending curiosity. Getting grounded, hit, and degraded by teachers for asking why something was taught, how it was helpful, or simply stating that he did not find something useful often put him into trouble. His curious mind took him through different adventures, different lands, and escapades while looking out the window during school time. He dreamed dreams that no one could even begin to understand yet, but that would one day take him far away into the horizon.
But his dreams were too big for a town as small as his. He carried himself throughout his early years in this town, loving the small pleasures, understanding the value of friendships and family. He made mistakes while in love, learned how certain actions and words can hurt others, but also how some other words can make someone laugh and fall in love with you.
He opened a small restaurant in his town. Run completely by himself, he cooked, waited, and serviced his customers. Even though this restaurant soon died out, his understanding and passion for helping people grew bigger.
He did his year-long mandatory military service. He endured hardships and discipline. He stayed long and lonely night shifts in the cold, outside. He became resilient and self-disciplined.
Finally, it was time to spread his wings and fly off towards a new horizon. He travelled across countries and continents. His curly hippie hair and bright smile crossed the seas. He fell in love with someone who did not love him as much. He left, heartbroken and in a run-down apartment. He decided he could not go any lower and built himself back up. He tasted new foods, new drinks, new lips. He fell in love in Brazil, but this, again, did not work out.
He got a master’s degree and worked for the Red Cross. He went on missions in Africa, learned new cultures, people, experiences. He met tribe chiefs, he was taken hostage and barely escaped.
Through his travels and endless adventures, he went to a library near his home to look for books for a family member, for himself, or just out of curiosity. In this library, as he read an author’s bio while crouching down, he felt a light tap on his shoulder. He turned around to see her. She was holding hands with a little boy, which he correctly guessed was her son. She smiled, and he was starstruck. He fell in love at first sight, as he still describes that moment in the library with a shy smile and a light blush appearing on his bearded cheeks.
This is where their story begins. He quickly fell deeper in love, until finally getting married at a small city chapel, with friends and family as witnesses of their love. Drinks in a cooler brought by friends to the local park helped cheer this new happy couple, deserving of each other’s love and appreciation.
Through the years to come, he continued to travel, exploring different lands and experiences. One day, she fell pregnant with their little girl, and he couldn’t have been more excited to welcome his little girl into the world. His passion for being a father grew bigger everyday. He read her and their little boy stories every night, tucked them into bed, kissed their foreheads and made sure they knew how loved they were.
He taught his little girl to ride a bike, to use roller blades, he showed her the freedom of art, the importance of enjoying the little moments. While they moved to different countries, he undertook the burden of having to go away from his family to help others during times of crisis.
He endured the loss of his father. He stopped painting for a year, and became quiet and reserved. She did not know how to respond other than to be his rock. She was patient and as understanding as she could towards his pain, his grief, his loss. He picked himself back up, slowly but surely.
He underwent life-threatening surgery that almost cost him his leg after an incompetent surgeon was not able to replace broken ligaments on his knee due to an incident during a warm-up session for a rugby game. He fought pain to try and regain the strength of his leg, but was not able to easily run ever again. He surpassed this, picked himself back up, and went on with his life.
He cries when he is happy, sad, and flustered. He becomes upset and is sensitive to other’s opinions on him, especially the opinions of those he loves most. He is selfless. He is understanding. He is caring, and he is artistic.
His little girl always played as his assistant when he painted, learning from him and helping him paint new paintings. The little girl often took his side in arguments. He taught his little girl to drive, holding her in his lap while she tightly grasped the steering wheel on an empty parking lot. He played in the sand, at the beach, for hours, creating sandcastles with both his little boy and girl.
He is generous. He is sensitive. He is wise. He is kind and aware of the people around him. He loves love, and adores her more than she may know. He loves his little girl and boy, both of whom have grown to be adults now. It’s their turn to fly high with the wings he helped grow and cultivate.
Today, you can find him pursuing new dreams and goals. He is a hidden hero. He is loved more than he knows.
From: your little girl.