I had gotten my ears pierced without his knowledge and my mom and aunt had to make sure he wouldn't find out. Thank goodness for long hair. But of course he found out. That same day.
He had come home from work and in all my excitement to see him, I jumped up to kiss him on the cheek. And then he saw it. My ears. Pierced! OLD SCHOOL STYLE!!!!!! (i.e hot needle and thread.) What were those two thinking??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????
I don't even think I felt the pain of his ripping the threads out of my ears. In two quick moves, snatch, snatch. Needless to say, my mom and aunt got an earful. It was on that day that I knew, my dad was not the one!
He was always a family man, but strict and stern. As his youngest, I was the one he watched the closest. I had 4 older brothers whom lived at home and their friends would come around often. And with an introductions of boys around and a then teenaged daughter, he became silent and deadly. My brothers' friends would never look me in the eye, say hello, nothing. Thinking back, I find it absolutely hysterical. They never saw my dad lift a finger to hurt anyone, yet his presence of "I'm not the one" was always respected and feared.
I never understood the lessons my dad was trying to instill in me back then. I thought he was trying to ruin my fun, that he didn't care about my happiness. I couldn't go out with friends whenever I wanted, no boyfriends, "don't even THINK about any of your brothers' friends."
But when I had kids of my own, it all fell into place. A realization of why he didn't want me to go to a strangers' houses. I shouldn't be around boys when I was so young. And why he made sure that no matter what, I should think I could do anything in life if I wanted it enough.
My father shaped me into the parent I am today. In his eyes, I was his little girl and upon his dead body would he allow anything happen to me. He wouldn't allow me to be gullible and always showed me to be realistic. He taught me that romance goes away quickly in a relationship but love and family is eternal.
I've become him in so many ways. When I felt the blow and Daniel's and Chloe's diagnosis, it's because of him that I knew that my kids would never feel as if they didn't have a warrior for a mother. That this journey in the Special Needs World would tap into the strengths I never knew existed. He's taught me lessons of what's really important and everyday he continues to teach me new things.
I am in awe of his presence and strength. I am proud to be his daughter and of who he is as a person and as a dad. I consider myself lucky to have my own personal hawkeye making sure I'm ok and letting me know that if I crumble, he will ALWAYS be my rock. I can speak to him about anything and I will always get a straight answer. And I can always rely on all of our conversations ending with, "And remember nena, papi loves you."
And I love you too Pop. More than you'll ever know. Happy Father's Day.