Growing up, one of the faint memories of my father that I could recall was him being lugged away in handcuffs by two tall, strong looking police officers, because he was so intoxicated that he started fighting with Linda, his girlfriend at the time. I don’t remember much of that day except that earlier that evening I was riding on Brownie (not the horse’s real name, but I called any brown horse “Brownie,” Black horses “Blackie” etc…). Brownie was one of the many trail horses that was at the stables that my dad and Linda managed [or something like that], and every day Junior or Marco (Linda’s sons) would take me out on the trail rides. It was always a highlight of my day, and at the end of every ride I was given some money to buy myself a grape soda from the vending machine that was placed by the stables
Obvious to say, my dad wasn’t a huge part of my life after that incident. Once in awhile I’d see him, and say “Hi Dad” really enthusiastically, because I was starving for him to accept me into his life and treat me like I was his. I could never comprehend why he didn’t live with my mom like everyone else’s parents did. I could never understand why he didn’t say “I love you” back. And most of all, I couldn’t understand as to why I wasn’t allowed to ever stay with him again. I didn’t know the term alcohol and what it sometimes did to people.
Eventually I just grew numb to the fact that my father wasn’t a part of my life. I didn’t care too much. But I was a rather bitter child towards men. My mom would date a few guys throughout the years, many of which expected me to follow their authority, while not handing out any form of love or warmth towards me or my brother.
Let’s fast forward now.
It was sometime after I started working at McDonald’s that my dad was all of a sudden in my life again. I can’t picture the exact day it happened, but it suddenly did. He was stopping my fairly regularly at McDonald’s to get coffee or a Big Mac meal, all to say “Hi” to me or to ask me how my day was going. I never ignored him. I just accepted him that he was back in my life. I never held a grudge over him, but I finally was able to forgive him for dis-including himself in the early years of my life (if that makes sense).
Suddenly I found myself making plans to go to Puerto Rico with him: this was one of his promises he always made to me when I was a kid, that he would take me to Puerto Rico.
To Dad: I know you weren’t on board at first, but I thank you for coming back into my life again. I know life wasn’t always easy for you, but I’m glad that God had his hand on you.
To Dad: I know you’re getting old, but I still hope that you can walk me down the aisle someday and give me away to a man. But if that never happens, I’ll still think of you on that day. Thanks for having two older sons, and teaching them what it is to be a hardworking man, and showing me that with dedication I can accomplish anything.
To Dad: I’ve forgiven you for everything of our past, and I hope you can forgive me for not loving you at times. I still pray that someday you will find another woman, but if not, I hope you live the last of your days content.
To Dad: I wish you would come to church with me, maybe just maybe, you could overcome your addiction to alcohol and cigarettes. I dislike that you hack up a long from your constant chain smoking.
To Dad: Thanks for teaching me Spanish and speaking to my family members that didn’t speak much English.
To Dad: I wish you could have taught me how to fish or fix a car. I learned from my mom, which I still appreciate, but I wish we could have spent some father-daughter time together. But thanks for fulfilling your promise to me and taking me to meet my other half of the family. I love them all.
To Dad: most of all, thanks for being more than just a biological donor. Thanks for stepping up and taking that role of fatherhood, sometimes it’s better late than never.
To Dad: Happy Father’s Day. Feliz dia de los Padres. Te amo mucho.