You tell me the story about the time you and I fell down the stairs together. I was newly born, you were carrying me in your arms, you lost your footing on the top step, and we tumbled down the stairs fast. It was a lot of stairs, but you held onto me tight, sheltering my tiny body from any harm. I suffered no injuries, but your back is still messed up to this day. You never complain though. All you cared about was protecting me and keeping me safe. That’s all you’ve ever cared about in my 24 years of life. Protecting me.
Then I grew up a little – seven years to be exact, and it was the year that our family went through the scariest night of our lives. The night we lost our entire house to an F-4 tornado, while we were all huddled down in the corner of the basement covered with only blankets. I can still remember every thought, conversation, and sight from that night. I was only seven. It was terrifying. The memories still are for me. You were older and bigger, and I relied on you to keep me safe. You held on to me so tight that night. Even tighter than you did that time we fell down the steps together. You were scared too, terrified even, but you didn’t let that stand in the way of you protecting me.
Then I grew up a little more, and it became time to learn how to ride my bicycle. You were just as nervous as I was to take off my training wheels- But we finally did, hesitantly. You held onto the back of my bike and helped steer me in the right direction. You made sure I was sturdy and you made sure I felt comfortable enough before letting me go. I wobbled, I swerved, and I fell off the bike into your arms a few times. But your arms were always there beside me to catch me if I fell. You were there protecting me- again.
Then I grew up even more and started to date. You hated the thought of me with any guy. You even joked about Brandi and I becoming nuns- however, I don’t think you were joking. You kind of minded your own business when it came to our relationships. I don’t think you wanted to hear about how your daughters held hands or even kissed a guy. You would leave that up to mom. But goodness gracious, if any of those boys ever broke our heart or made us cry, you were there in the middle of our business, hugging us, wiping away our tears, and telling us that ‘he wasn’t worth it anyway- he wasn’t near as good looking or as sweet as your dad.’ You were, and still are, the one man I can always count on. I know no matter what you will be there, with a shoulder for me to cry on, and of course, there protecting me.
Many years have passed and many things have happened, both good and bad. But there has always been one thing that has remained the same. And that thing is the fact that you’ve been there. Through all these years, through all the good things and through all the bad things, you’ve been by my side protecting me. You’ve been by my side loving me. I know no matter what challenges I face in life, whether it be something minor like falling off my bike or something major like going through a tornado, you’ll always be there. I can count on that. I can count on you. I always know you’ll be nearby watching me, loving me, protecting me.