Richie Anne Castillo was mocked in school for having a father with Down Syndrome. But now that she is all grown up, she knows how amazing he is.
Many of us have some regrets from our childhood especially the times we interacted with our parents in a manner they did nothing to deserve. There may have been when we acted like an ungrateful brat despite the sacrifices they made for us. Looking back at those soul-crushing moments now, we yearn to go back in time and change it. This is exactly the kind opportunity Richie Anne Castillo has been pining for.
Taking to Facebook, she wrote a heartwarming letter on her father's birthday celebrating the amazing man he is. Dear, Dad. Today marks a very special and very miraculous moment of your life. You turn 50 today and I am so blessed that you continue to live such a long and beautiful life. Doctors are still amazed by it! I know you won’t be able to read this because I don’t know if you have Facebook, but I want the whole world to know how proud I am that you are my dad. I want the whole world to know how beautiful you are inside and out, she began.
Back in school, Castillo was mocked by her friends because her father had Down Syndrome but after growing up, she finally mustered the courage to proudly speak about her amazing dad. Dad, it took me so many years before I gathered enough courage to face everyone because not all may know the whole truth because it is quite confusing. Back in grade school, I would be picked on and bullied because they said you were different. As a kid I didn’t see you as different, I saw you as my dad. I didn’t understand why they were making fun of me and calling me abnormal. I understood this later on and it made me a coward. But you deserve more than the coward daughter that I am. You deserve love, understanding, patience and acceptance as any individual with Down Syndrome should. Here I am composing a birthday greeting to you because I’ve never done such a thing. You deserve so much more, continued the doting daughter.
Describing her father as the strongest and the bravest human being, Castillo revealed how he seldom complained about the painful procedures he had to undergo often. You are the strongest because after all those surgeries, procedures and nights at the hospital, you managed to say “Wa ko mahadlok mamatay kay ni salig ko sa Ginoo” (I’m not afraid because I trust in the Lord), she wrote adding, You are the bravest because you have been through so much and you never, not even once been afraid. Apologizing for the all the time she was absent from his life, she continued, Dad, no amount of words can sum up to how sorry I am for being an absent daughter. I’m sorry for not bringing you to the beach more often or I don’t bring you your favorite dimsum food or I don’t visit you more often than I should. If there is one thing I regret, it is hiding you from my life because I’m still the same little kid who was afraid of getting bullied. But I love you more than you could ever know, Dad and I am inspired by you always. I’m inspired at how much you love the Lord and I came to love the Lord myself and its amazing at how incredibly intelligent you are.
Castillo went on to share how much her father is adored by everyone and spoke about his ability to put a smile on everyone's face. Crediting her dad for the strong woman she has become today, she expressed, I could go on and on talking about you but it would be too long. Happy 50th birthday, Daddy! Thanks for always calling me your one and only baby girl because I always will be. I am strong and brave because of you and I love you so much, dad. I think I’m big enough now to defend myself from the bullies. Lots of love, your daughter.