My father being 100% himself, playing with my daughter two years ago.
My father is spending Father’s Day in Cuba.
He, two sisters who live in the United States, and two sisters who live in Cuba are tending to a brother who is gravely ill.
They are weathering heat and sadness together in the Cuban countryside.
My cousins likely are going to lose their father soon, while I count my blessings for having been raised by mine.
If on Father’s Day you are supposed to verbally express gratitude, well then, here is mine, with the lessons my father teaches me, and his grandchildren, just by being himself.
At nearly 75, he spends a lot of time outdoors, whether walking or tending to the small patch of garden he has filled with tropical plants, including enough sugar cane to quality as a Cuban cane field.
The Lesson: Don’t stop moving, don’t stop growing.
My father can sit on my Tennessee porch and for hours do nothing more than enjoy birdsong with binoculars and maybe a beer. He always comes inside singing praises. “Oh Boy! It’s Beautiful Out There! Tremendos pajaros que vi!”
The Lesson: Simple things are a wonder. Always.
“Umm! Umm! Umm! Ay, Dios Mio! Que Rico!” my father says nearly every time he bites into a piece of fruit, which he eats with such gusto you would think it was his first time ever having a mango or orange or papaya. Sometimes, he gives it such alabao that it is nearly annoying.
The Lesson: Savor every moment, even if its the 1,000th time you’ve done something.
One of the biggest compliments my husband ever can give me is this one: “You sound just like your father right now.”
Happy Día de Los Padres to my father, my daughter’s awesome father, my Tio and all the Fathers in our lives.
We need you.
We love you.
We thank you.