June 16, 2013

Lessons from the original Superman

Father's day is always a fickle time for me.  Today marks 30 years since the last Father's day I spent with Sarge.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was the first time I was able to "purchase" a father's day breakfast for him.  McDonald's had a promotion that year if you colored a sheet that was provided by them and took it in for Father's day, your dad would get a free breakfast.  I didn't know it, but that would be the last time I would spend a Father's day with my dad.  Five months later, just 2 months shy of my 13th birthday, he was gone. 

I have been without him longer than he was with me. Still he has been a powerful influence in my life. His words and actions have permeated me for the remaining years I have been without him. His words float over my head in everything I do and say to others.  Today as in everyday I honor the Superman he was to me. 

Little lessons he left me with:
  • Love thy neighbor - Sarge was the neighborhood guy.  Someone needed a tool, he would be the guy to come and borrow one from.  If your car broke down in the middle of a delluge of rain, he was the person you called. Not only would he give you a ride but  he would try to fix that car or get you the help you needed.  The day of his funeral I met so many people that were touched by all the things I never knew he did.  He was a giving person who loved humanity.  No one was ever more or less than him, we were all of the human kind and we should all help each other in this world. So when I lose my patience in Los Angeles traffic I remember, we are all human and we all need to look out for one another. 
  • Appreciate the simple things - Music was always blaring on any given day at our home.  Sarge would play anything from classical music, swing, to Mariachis.  He would sing to his heart content without abandonment, even though his voice was that of nails on a chalkboard.  Simple outings were the catalyst to "great adventures" as he would call it.  So it was no surprise I was excited when he took me to the city of Corona for an adventure to seek out a great doughnut. Who cares if it just a few miles from our city, it was somewhere new we had never been.  It was his appreciation of the simple joy in life that has gotten me through some rough times.  Seeking out that hole in the wall cafe and people watching has brought me to a calm place where I could think things through.  Listening to a favorite song can take me back in time to a wonderful place when things were calm and fun.
  • Laugh at yourself -  Sarge was the original dork. Never afraid to make a fool of himself and laugh along the way.  He made sure I never took myself or life to seriously.  I would get in funks as a child and some how he always managed to make me laugh at his antics.  He would point out the great humor in things, even if it was the crappiest day ever.  So now, I manage to look at life and see the humor in things.  It makes me smile and I can be the same goofball my dad was to me with my children and see the smile I had as a child being reflected back at me through the kids.
  • Never forget your history - I never knew my grandparents, they were gone before I was born but I definitely knew about them.  Sarge never failed to take me on his lap to tell me of things when he was growing up, about how his family life was with his parents.  He took me to Mexico to meet my extended family to develop a relationship with those who carried our history. He wanted me to grow up proud of how far our family has come and how far I could take the rest of our history.  One of the major reasons I blog about my children and myself is to carry on that rich tradition.  Much is to be said about storytelling.  You never know what lessons you are learning from your own rich family history.  
  • Get up and succeed - He picked me off the floor after I fell off a bike, cleaned up my scrape and placed me back on the bike I had just fallen off.  Giving up was not an option.  I was crying my eyes out and wanting to give up, but Sarge encouraged me.  Every step of the way he was there to cheer me on.  Little successes where HUGE accomplishments. He made sure I understood that no matter if I had an audience or not. I was the master of my own pride with all those accomplishements.  So when I was able to do the major things in life like graduate from college or simply help potty train a two year old I could stand with pride and never give up.
There are so many more that I can list but these in particular have helped me get through the good, the bad, and ugly that life has out there.  All he did for me in the short 12 years of my life has stayed with me.  It's not about time that you spend with your children, it's what you do in whatever time you have with them. 

For the men who create those strong bonds with their children I salute you.  You never know what your teaching your little ones and what life lessons they are learning along the way. 

Feliz dia del padre Papi.  Te extrano muchismo! <3>
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