Most of us have at least a few regrets from our childhood related to the way we at times interacted with our parents. Maybe there have been moments when you got mad at them for not buying you a certain toy. Or perhaps at times, you acted like an ungrateful little brat despite how much your parents have done for you. And when you think about those moments, the feeling is so soul-crushing that it seems like you would do almost anything for a chance to go back and change them.

This article is partly about that. Richie Anne Castillo grew up being mocked for having a father who has Down Syndrome. Now she’s all grown up, and on his birthday, she shared a heartwarming post telling the whole world how amazingly strong her dad is, how proud she is of him, and saying sorry for all the times she hadn’t been an attentive daughter to him.

Take a look at Richie’s incredibly touching letter she wrote to her dad

Image credits: richieanne_cast

“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,” Richie wrote in her post.

“Here I am composing a birthday greeting to you because I’ve never done such a thing. You deserve so much more”

Image credits: richieanne_cast

“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,” Richie continued.

“You are the bravest because you have been through so much and you never, not even once been afraid”

Image credits: richieanne_cast

“Dad, you are the strongest and the bravest human being I know. For almost all your life, you have allowed doctors to insert needles in you, surgeries here and there, a lifetime doing dialysis, and a long list of limitations. But you seldom complain,” wrote Richie.

“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.) You always put a smile on your face after a long day at the dialysis center, or after a hypoglycemic episode. You are the bravest because you have been through so much and you never, not even once been afraid. I cannot imagine putting myself in your shoes,” the daughter continued.

“I wish I could take your place so you wouldn’t have to feel any pain anymore”

Image credits: richieanne_cast

“I have seen you at your worst when you would break down and say that you are tired. Hearing those words ‘Kapoy na. (I’m tired)’ or ‘Sakit kaayo. (It really hurts)’ made me cry for days and I couldn’t bear going back to the hospital anymore. I have seen you cry because your knee would hurt cause of the fluid. I can’t feel your pain, but how I wish I could take your place so you wouldn’t have to feel any pain anymore. You lost your teeth, but that never bothered you or kept you from eating the food that you love. You always lose your postiso (dentures) man gud. HAHA! Wa nuon kay ngipon and I know you do it purposely! I had forgotten how you looked like with teeth or with hair,” Richie said in her letter.

“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”

Image credits: richieanne_cast

“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,” wrote Richie.

“I am strong and brave because of you and I love you so much, dad”

Image credits: richieanne_cast

“Everyone adores you and you know that. You could always put a smile and a laugh on everyone’s faces. You annoy people a lot too but we love you anyways. I understand that you have good days and bad days (your bad days are our bad days as well haha.) You can be mean at times and you push everyone away, including me. But that’s just you and it’s okay. It’s okay to be different. 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,” Richie ended her post.

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