I made my grand entrance on Father’s Day. The day of my birth, my dad got to have his special day, too. But that bliss did not last forever; shortly after our family came together, we were torn apart. It was not a particular event or person at fault, but before I was old enough to understand or even have memory of my parents together, they separated. A few years later, my brave, loving mom moved with my sister and me to Florida from Puerto Rico on blind faith and with only a suitcase to her name.
Every day I thank my mom for the sacrifices and decisions she has made for my sister and me. But, even still, my whole life I spent wondering what it was like to have a biological father that was present. Present as in involved. Someone who was there for all the triumphs and sorrows. A dad. In its purest definition.
For so many of my childhood years my family would ask how my dad was or if I was in contact with him. I was always very bitter and wondered why I even needed to bother.
Skip to my wedding day when I was 19 years old: My dad did indeed fly in for this special day. It was so weird because I did not plan to have him walk me down the aisle or dance with me for a “special dance.” Again, I was still very much bitter and, honestly, scared. We hardly knew each other. I was scared of change. Why bother when I have grown up just fine all of these years without his significant presence in my life. Why now?
Then, somewhere between marriage, starting my own career, and becoming a mother, forgiveness came into play. The anxiety about the unknown and about change turned into action. I decided to start new, as if I were just meeting him for the first time, and welcome him into every part of my life, letting go of the guilt for all the years we missed, because, at the end of the day, I can’t do anything about the past, but can only focus on what I can do right now.
Since turning a new leaf in our relationship, my dad has come to visit me and we have travelled around Florida, my husband and I have visited him in Puerto Rico, and we talk on the phone more often than we ever did before. He has yet to meet my son, and now that Hurricane Maria has left him with no electricity and the island in devastation, I am not sure when it will happen, but still we are eager for that day to come!
My relationship with my dad still isn’t perfect, and it definitely doesn’t resemble those on the TV (you know, like in This Is Us, but let’s get real—whose does?), and sometimes I still struggle to find the right words in Spanish, but it’s ours. Our relationship is what we have made it to be. It’s our normal, and I personally believe it’s perfect in its own respect.
Sometimes we have let go and jump in for the sake of a relationship. I could have easily walked away and let the bitterness or even apathy take over. But I knew this relationship was important, and I knew that the joy and love that filled my dad the day of my birth had to be there, and, thankfully, it was. Just in a different form. I wouldn’t trade my circumstances for the world; they have shaped who I am, and I can’t wait for my son and future kids to spend time with their abuelo and know that I will never give up on special relationships. ❤