Happy Birthday, Dad

Today, I am leaving my motherly stories aside and write from a daughter's perspective.  Today, is my father's birthday and would like to extend my sincerest wishes, happiness, and love to him.

"Papi, felicidades en tu díá­a.  Esperamos que te la pases muy bien en companí­a de todos los que te queremos mucho y que podamos compartir muchos más de estos dí­as."

If you were to look in the dictionary for the meaning of daddy's girl, you would see my picture in flashing lights.  He has always meant the world to me since he has taught me so much.  Through him I learned honesty, respect, responsibility, hard work, and the love for family. 

Dad is a very humble man who comes from a rural area in Mexico with only a 3rd grade education.  Due to his hard work and dedication he was able to buy 2 homes and a business.  But, from looking at him you would never know.  He has never thought himself to be a better person because of what he has, but by his actions.  He always treats everyone with respect and kindness regardless of who they are, what they have, or what they do.  He was able to instill this in us and never lets us forget this.  He has always told us that if we work hard and are responsible then we shall receive respect and we would reach all our girls.  Most importantly, he insisted that  the respect that others show us should be reciprocated.

Through him I also learned honesty,  His biggest pet peave is to be lied to.  Growing up we knew this and always had to decide between lying and facing him twice, one for what we did wrong and one for lying.  Or we could confess to what we did and only disappointment him once.  It was sometimes a hard decision but, as we grew older and understood him, we would opt for being honest and accept the consequences.  This taught me that lying would be easier at the moment but in the long run wouldn't get me very far. 

Finally, he has shown me the importance of family.  He always insited that we put family first, since in the end, it would be family who would be at our side.  With all our differences we are a close family that will help each other when needed and know we will be helped in return.

As I write, I think of all the wonderful memories I have had with him.  There are three that stand out the most.  The first is when I was 4 or 5 years old and I wanted a stroller for my doll.  I vaguely remember that my birthday had passed and Christmas was still very far away.  I couldn't wait that long for a stroller.  One day when I woke up from a nap there it was.  That beautiful stroller I had seen in the store and really wanted.  He gave me this stroller for no reason, just because I wanted it.  This was my favorite and took great care of it so I wouldn't break it, scratch it, or dirty it.  I rememberthe moment as if it was yesterday.

The other ocassion was about the same time but this time I was sick.  I had to take some pills, but since I couldn't swallow them (there weren't chewables at the time), mom would crush them and give them to me on a spoon with water.  I remember complaining to her that everyone would get their medicine with juice and that I would get it with water.  Dad, happened to call home before he left work and mom told him what I had said.  Dad came home with a gallon of orange juice just for me.  That was the best juice I had ever had.

Lastly, I remember the week preceding my wedding.  His sister, who had been quite sick for a while, took a turn for the worse and they were unsure if she would make it.  Dad was in a dilemma because his sister was in Mexico.  My first thought was that I couldn't continue with my wedding if my dad wasn't there.  I had always dreamed of my dad walking me down the aisle.  We spoke and I told him to walk me down the aisle and then take the next flight to see his sister.  He said he couldn't do that and that he would make his decision after the wedding. He left 3 weeks later when his sister passed.

Dad wasn't just amazing with us, he is also amazing with his 10 grandchildren.  Although dad was kind and loveable as we were growing up he did keep part of himself stern so to maintain the authority in the house.  But, once he got grandchildren we saw a side in him we didn't know.  It seems like grandpa became a little boy again and was reliving his childhood.  It is wonderful seeing him play with all of his grandchildren and enjoy them so much.  Grandpa loves having the grandchildren around.

Reliving these moments brings tears to my eyes.  As I see him age and get slower and show more gray it takes me to the future.  Thinking about losing him brings more tears.  Felicidades y gracias Papá¡.  Ay mamá¡!  

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