We stood in a line, after the final, closing prayers have been said, and after we each tossed a flower over his coffin, people walked and shook our hands, each telling a summation of what they loved best about my Father.
A majority of it can be summed up in this: “He lived only for us. We were all he talked about everyday…”
As far back as I can remember, I never saw my parents leave for anything close resembling date night, even on their anniversaries, my Father wanted the whole family to be together. He never bought himself a single object that wouldn’t later on be a tool or some sort of part that he would use in the future, however, he spent as much as he could on us, to make sure that we had fantastic childhoods filled with toys and playthings that ignited our imaginations and placed smiles on our faces.
He knew not to give too much as to spoil us, but whenever we needed anything that required currency, there was no hesitation. My first year at LSU, I found myself with my homework online, so I had to stay at the school library late trying to do my homework, a week later, I came home to find a laptop waiting for me, purchased by none other than my Father on his way home from work.
It’s so interesting to realize how often people go out for their own reasons, whether it be, to relax/unwind, or on impulse, or what have you, yet my Father never seemed to have these feelings, at least not for himself. The moment he got off work, he always came straight home, he never went out for beers, nor to hang out with his co-workers, on any activity, not because he didn’t like them, but because in his mind, family was first and foremost.
It didn’t matter that we’d all be swamped with homework or playing or chores when he got there, he was just satisfied with just being home with his loved ones, his family. He’d always walk into the living room just to check up on us, making sure we were all there and alright, right before he’d yell out, “Good night, Kids!”, to which we’d reply, “Good night, Dad.”
Heh, my eyes are swelling…
This was truly one of my best memories of him, every night he’d say good night, making sure to say it to everyone, regardless of where they were in the house.
This particular trait was one of the best qualities I’ve found within him. To live ONLY for his loved ones, to make sure we were happy, clothed, fed, and taken care of, he loved us so much that he never spent a single moment away from us, when given the chance, he’d rather stay at home doing nothing, than be out hanging out with friends, or co-workers, or even with my mother by themselves, for him, we always stayed together.
Although he had this way of thinking, he wasn’t beyond the ideas of others having to leave, save it was the only choice. Otherwise, his realistic mind kicks in, and he’ll start questioning the reasons why you want to leave, which usually boils down because you really didn’t have a good reason.
This idea has lead me to make a pact with myself, to not leave home until I deem it necessary, too often have my friends left home only to bring disappointment or to become someone who’s character is rather untrustworthy. And it has been a rather good decision on my part, I now have a constantly solidifying sense of priorities, and I know what to focus on in the future when I have a place of my own.
But I have learned the ideals of fatherly self-sacrifice and I have an unwavering example of someone who can define what it means to be a ‘Father’ which will be my example when/if I become one, or to be a Father-figure to someone who is not of blood, so that they can see what I saw and learn what I have learned, simply because my Father showed me.
Also tying into Mexican culture, where family ties are rather strong, My Father upheld his cultural responsibilities and I never had a single doubt in his abilities to provide for us, nor ever felt an inkling of loss of control for the family in his hands.
In the end, I’ve learned one major trait I will aspire to obtain: Being there for those I love, regardless of the cost.