I say that with such a heavy sigh. He died in 2003 and every Father’s Day has been a bit tough ever since. But this one isn’t. The holiday snuck up on me and today I wonder what he would say about his family in 2018?
Oh, the Cuban would have lots to say but I think he would have been proud of how we’ve recovered. He’d also push us to do great things, more great things, that pull toward building a legacy of our own for the next generation.
On the anniversary of his death, I chose to look at my dad as a person, not as this nostalgic figure from my early life. I have so many good memories but there are also some tough ones. My dad was a grade A asshole, but he was also a great dad to me. And there is the complexity of his humanity, the capacity to exist in two spaces at once.
I wrote about that complexity last year and even when we talk about him, it’s not with a syrupy sweet tone but as-a-matter-of-fact tone. He was who he was and I understood him more, that ambition and that immigrant story.
Yes, that Cuban immigrant lived his life, he did right by his family. There was a roof over our heads. There may not always have been food on the table but when there was, his children and wive ate first. He showed me what hustle was. Beg, borrow, steal? He did it all.
His American dream was to have a place where his family could always come home to. He couldn’t always go home to Cuba but he wanted us to. And we do. His dream was to have educated children. He’s got them.
And he was a father that would cheerlead me into a career.
So to this complex Cuban who still cheerleads for me from wherever he is, Feliz Dia de Los Padres, papa.