Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Title of "Dad" (A Father's Day Letter)

   Kendra and Amber,
   I hope one day you both speak of me just a fraction of the way I talk about Grandpa, my dad.
   When I throw lines from old Bugs Bunny cartoons at you, you know, the ones that make you roll your eyes at me, even as you laugh?  Grandpa taught me that. 
   So the next time I tell you something, and to emphasize the truth of it I add, “or my name isn’t Clyde… and it isn’t!”  You’ll know Grandpa is behind it. 
   He still drives Grandma crazy with his funny quips, usually borrowed from TV shows or movies.  Grandma will still make a fist and shake it at him, even as she laughs out loud at the way he delivers the line at just the most appropriate time.  Like the time that Grandma was studying for a nursing exam and Grandpa casually said to her, “Are you nervous, pussycat?”  I’ve yet to forget the look on her face or the way she laughed.  She couldn’t concentrate on her studies after that, but she passed her exam all the same. 
   When I reply to your obvious questions with an obvious answer?  Grandpa taught me that.  So the next time you ask me “Are you writing again?” as you come into the little studio, and see me pounding at the keyboard, and I reply, “Nope, I’m writing again.”  Now you know Grandpa started the trend. 
  Oh, how I grin at your frustrated little expressions, the same way Grandpa grinned at me, and truth be told, it’s good to be on the other side of that table. 
   Maybe it’s time I tone it down, however.  I’ve noticed even when I answer your questions with serious truth, you look at me dubiously and immediately go to Mom to confirm my answers.  Mommy inevitably bops me on the shoulder and chastises me for my constant joking around, just like Grandma did to Grandpa when I was your age.
   That serious way of talking to you when you get in trouble, and the hugs and words of encouragement I give you when you’re down?  I learned that from Grandpa.
   The way I sit by you, and for no reason at all tell you that I love you with all my heart?  I learned that from Grandpa.  He taught me that we don’t need some special holiday to say how we feel about those we love.

   I hope I’ve learned enough, but sometimes I wonder...
   Today, Grandpa is my well of courage, my source of infinite support, my inspiration, my very best friend.  The bond we share has been forged through the years by always being able to trust in one another.  That’s what I’d like to accomplish with you, my girls. 
   I want you to always have the confidence to come to me with your concerns, your questions, your confessions, and anything at all no matter what it is.  I know it’s possible because that’s what I have in Grandpa more so now than ever before, and I know how it’s helped me as I grew up, back when I had a habit of making my life much more complicated than it needed to be.
   We all do that as teenagers, you’ll see.
  Grandpa taught me that the day you were born, I was given the title of father, but that I had to earn being your dad by dedicating the rest of my life to you and your sister.  When I asked how, he told me to always guide you, to allow you to make your own mistakes, and to always be there to help you up when you fell.  He told me to hug you and kiss your cheeks every chance I got, because each day that passes we never get back.  He told me to always have a laugh and a smile for you; to praise your triumphs, to make you look past your failures, and to love you no matter what.  I realized then that he was telling me to do everything he's done for me, and he did a great job, not just being my dad, but in everything he's ever set out to do.  I learned that no matter how great your abilities, let others praise your deeds, and never believe yourself above anyone else.  He told me to never stop learning or think for one second I've done enough.
   I still have much to learn about being a dad from him. 
   You both and I joke around, maybe too much for Mommy’s tastes.  I listen to your stories and do my best to let you know that what you say matters.  I try so hard not to show my frustration at the booboo you could’ve avoided had you listened to me in the first place, though in that regard, I tend to fail miserably, but only because nothing hurts me more than seeing you cry. 
   I do all I can to remember that when I was little, I devastated my room and seldom picked up after myself, just like you do.   
   Despite our moments, when I grow angry and send you to your room over something you did or said, I always get a kiss goodnight and we go back to me making you laugh, if not with a funny joke then with a sound tickling, and your giggling and laughter,  along with those little hugs make me think that I’ve done okay so far with earning the title of "Dad" to you, or my name isn’t Clyde...and it isn’t! 
   I love you both, 


  1. Javier, as a Dad, you have my respect and admiration, Kendra and Ambina are blessed having you as their, not just dad, but friend, just the way I wanted to be, when I had you in my arms for the first time, I remember thinking, I'll be your dad and most of all your friend, and I will never, ever draw a line to define father and son, I hope I acomplished that, I love you very much, always...

    1. That's beautiful. Jaime, looks like you did a great job of raising a great son. Happy Father's day to you both.