|January 20, 1995|
I can't say it was easy, parenting a strong-minded young woman. One time, when she was about 4 or 5 years old, we went to visit my husband (her father). She was the mini mayor of the visiting room; everyone knew who she was and she greeted anyone who approached her (it was a bit scary, to be honest). So she was doing what she always did, moving around and asking a million questions. I was a bit frustrated with her and told her to quit. To which she replied, "I am NOT a quitter!!!" Her father laughed and I had to chuckle... she spoke the truth! That has always been our daughter; sassy, energetic, loud, inquisitive, passionate and persistent. She has qualities from both of us. From me she got her humor and goofy demeanor, also a can do attitude. From my husband she got passion for learning (history in particular) and a high self-esteem, which borders on arrogance!
In less than four weeks I will represent her father in walking her down the aisle. I will be his substitute in all father-daughter wedding moments (that's how she wants it). Sure, my dad could very well fill in, as could my brother, but she wants me. I will do my best to fulfill such an important obligation though I am wholeheartedly aware that it seriously took a village to get to this point. My husband has always been a presence in her life. He has praised her and reprimanded her, guided her and reassured her. He has advised her and made her laugh, too. His influence transcends the walls that keep him from us. My parents have always been there for her. In fact, she used to think that she came from my mother; "so, abuela had you, then titi, then tio, THEN me?" A funny anecdote that speaks to how close she is to them. My sister and brother have always had her back, too. Many friends and extended family stepped up and had important roles in her life, as well.
So, it wasn't just me. I have always been fortunate enough to have the support of my family and thus, so have my children. My oldest child is testament to the importance of having that support. Her accomplishments fill us with joy, her challenges have always been met with choices and learning opportunities.
My husband will not get to walk his daughter down the aisle. He will not get to make a toast and tell some corny jokes at the reception. He will not get the chance to perform the traditional father-daughter dance with her. But just like the first time she got on the school bus, and like each time she crossed the stage to receive a diploma, I will be there. He isn't a bad father, he loves that child so very much. He just cant be present in physical form. At least not yet.
We pray that he will be home soon, in time to be in his grandchildren's lives. Not to mention, to be here for our younger children (aged 16, 15, 7 and 4). Lots of graduations and weddings are yet to come!