First time Mom, here. Still getting the hang of things, sometimes I feel like hiding under my bed. Not as easy as it looks, folks!!! But, wow, is it amazing!! Sounds cliché, but it’s true what they say: “you don’t know what love is, until you have a child”.
Starting in this “business” I’ve felt lost many times, wondering if I’ll be a good mom and asking God to give me the wisdom to raise my little girl to be a strong, brave and independent woman. Then I realized, God has already answered my prayer in the forms of the other Dads in my life.
My own father. A figure of strength, hard work and tough love, with emphasis on LOVE. I came into his and my mother’s arms when they thought I’d never would. I’m 34 years old and he still hasn’t let go. He’s taught me patience, tolerance and the importance of being responsible in every aspect of life. He’s always there when I need him, and always there when I think I don’t. He’s instilled in me the will to be firm about my beliefs. He’s Dad, what more can I say?
My grandfather. Up until he fell sick in his later years, grandpa woke up every morning, put on his dress shirt, or “guayabera” as it’s called in Puerto Rico (he was old school), his carefully pressed pants and shined shoes, got in his van and went to work. He was a salesman and a pretty damn good negotiator. “Work dignifies the soul”, he used to tell me. It worked, I got my first job at 19, late in the game compared to others, but still a teen. Why? Because I wanted to help my family and grabbed the opportunity when it was offered. Another one of his pearls of wisdom was “nobody is indispensable”. His meaning: always give 100 per cent, wherever you are.
My big brother. Remember when I shared that my parents thought I would never come? That’s because they’d been, well, “calling” for me (*hint hint*) for a while after they had my brother and I arrived twelve years later. During my childhood, my brother and I weren’t too close, that age gap was very noticeable back then, but it seemed to shrink when I reached my twenties. “Sister, be careful how you dress, you never know a guy’s intention”. Protective. He even shielded me from his friends if need be! But the one that stuck with me was “finish school, finish College, and get a career. So you never have to depend on a man, on anyone”. This said not in a feminist way, but because he wished for me to be able to stand on my own two feet. And I listened.
And then, there’s my partner. He has children from his previous marriage and, during all these years we’ve been together, I’ve learned what it’s like to love someone so much, that distance doesn’t diminish its strength. I’ve seen how it is to want to hold your children, talk to them, be able to provide for them, live…for THEM.
They, these men, these examples of perseverance, unconditional love and fortitude, have unknowingly taught me how to be a better Mom. Their experiences, their words, live forever in my heart and in my mind. This is the power of their actions. This is their legacy.
To them, thank you. I listened.