A Father’s Day Gift

My Dad is a creature of habit. He has his daily morning routine down pat. First thing he does every morning when he wakes is go straight to the kitchen and make cafe. Once it’s ready he’ll set two cups down on the kitchen counter and fill them with the aromatic brew. He’ll then take both cups of cafecitos and head back to the bedroom where he sets Mom’s cup next to her on the night stand.

Mom will be awake of course, because it’s hard not to be riled from sleep when Dad’s two-hundred-some-odd-pound body wrestles itself out of bed. She’ll have already made a bit of room for him to sit there next to her on her side of the bed. Dad will sit down there next to his wife of 58 years like a hooneymooner.

“How did you sleep?” they’ll ask each other. “How do you feel? Did the pain in your leg go away?” The start of their early morning conversations is a bit less than honeymoon-esque, being that theyre in their 80’s, but there, every morning, next to each other they will share their pains, and talk about the dreams they had and plan their day.

Dad will then take both empty cups back to the kitchen and wash them. Then he’ll lay out Mom’s meds for the morning and take his own.

After he’s done with his morning bathroom routine he’ll get dressed, walk over to the refrigerator and check to see if there’s anything they need. He’ll make a mental list, grab his keys and head to his supermarket a few blocks away to pick up milk or orange juice or cheese and his copy of the day’s El Nuevo Herald.

By the time he gets back, if Mom is feeling OK, she’ll already be in the kitchen, waiting for Dad and the provisions to make breakfast.

While Mom makes breakfast, Dad will sit at the dinner table with the newspaper and read it from front to back. He’ll start with the headlines, just to see what happened as he and Mom slept. Then he’ll read the sports sections to see if his Marlins won last night if he didn’t make it all the way to the ninth before falling asleep.

And at one point, maybe just as Mom is setting his breakfast down on the table in front of him, Dad will turn to the Opinion pages, where he may take in the latest Montaner or Oppenheimer or Pardo. Mom will sit down next to him and there they’ll share breakfast together, with Dad maybe recommending that she read this opinion column or the other.

Today of all days, I wish I could be there for those few moments at the kitchen table. Today, Father’s Day, I wish I could be a fly in the room to watch my Dad as he catches glimpse of a special Father’s Day column in the opinion pages of his favorite newspaper.

I wish I could be there the moment he sees his son’s name on the byline. I wish i could be there when he sees a picture of himself with his wife and son. I wish I could be there when he reads a story about himself, a story about his character and his absolute prowess as a father.

We all get a little worried every year when Father’s day comes around. Dad’s aren’t always easy to shop for. What can we possibly get him? What can we possibly buy the man that helped raise us? What can you possibly gift wrap for a man that made so many sacrifices for us and worked his entire life so that you could have a better life than he did? So that you could have the toys he never had. So that you wouldn’t have to wear hand-me-downs. So that you wouldn’t be want of anything. So that you could be better educated. So that you wouldn’t have to toil as he and so that your arms won’t have the same scars and your hands wont be as calloused.

I didn’t get Dad a tie because he doesn’t wear ties. I didn’t get him golf clubs because he doesn’t play golf. I didn’t get Dad any new clothes because he’s already got a closet full of them that he never wear.

For Father’s Day this year, I got my Dad something you can’t buy in any store. I surprised him with a column in his favorite newspaper. A column that I had written for this blog a few years ago, but one that still, to this day, serves its purpose.

As I type this, Dad is probably about to flip to the opinion pages of El Nuevo Herald. And there he’ll find a Father’s Day gift from his son, not just in words, but in meaning. Today, Dad will find his son telling the world just what an incredible father he has been. Today, Dad will find that the lessons he gave his son weren’t all for naught.

Today, his son thanks him for the example and the simple lessons he passed down onto me. Because of my Dad, who handed me a can of paint and a paint brush and a lesson- no me pintes con brocha seca – when I was a kid, I am the man who I am. And no matter what I do in life, because of the father that I’ve been blessed with, my brush will never be dry.

5 thoughts on “A Father’s Day Gift”

  1. Val, Happy Father’s Day to your dad. It has been an honor and a privilege to have been able to talk to him every year at Cuba Nostalgia.
    I hope and pray that the two of you can share many more Father’s Days together here in Miami and later on in a free Cuba.

  2. Happy Father’s Day to your Dad Val,

    This year I spend quite sometime talking to him at Cuba Nostalgia (he told me quite a few stories about his struggles in Cuba during the early Castro years) and got to know him better.

    You’re very blessed to have such a great father.

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