When thinking back on my childhood I have nothing short of amazing memories. My parents were the ones that everyone called mom and dad; they let everyone in and treated everyone with so much love! We didn’t have much money growing up (I’m pretty sure it was a paycheck to paycheck household) but that didn’t stop my parents from showing me, my sister, and anyone else who wanted in all this world had to offer. Every single weekend we were at a different park, taking a road trip, leading a new sport, singing songs, and simply living the best life we could. Now it wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies; we got into with one another, I was a rotten teen come my 13th birthday but it always ended in love.
“IN THIS HOUSE: WE ARE REAL•WE MAKE MISTAKES•WE SAY I’M SORRY•WE GIVE SECOND CHANCES•WE HAVE FUN•WE GIVE HUGS•WE DO REALLY LOUD•WE ARE PATIENT•WE LOVE EACH OTHER”
It was all love and all good until one day it didn’t end in love...it just ended, my parents split and my dad left. Twenty years of memories and this magical image of what family was shattered in a split second; I was destroyed! It was the kind of split that nobody expected and when people heard the news it broke them too; we were the family that gave people hope, mom & dad were “relationship goals”. For a very long time I was very angry with my father, it was a hurt I didn’t know I could feel and I let him know it day in and day out. I would call him screaming, crying, and cursing; I told him I never wanted anything to do with him again...I did this every single day for a long time until I just stopped speaking to him all together. I could not make sense of how I could go from daddy’s little girl to writing him off. He repeatedly told me that the split had nothing to do with me and my sister, that his love for us was never ending, and that he was still the same Dad but I didn’t want to hear that! In my head he broke up our family and if he wasn’t home then he wasn’t the same Dad.
Years went by and the pain remained, how I handled it was the only thing that changed...from lashing out to completely blocking it out. Things changed after one of my sorority sisters shared a story with me about a lady she helped save in Haiti after the earthquake in Haiti back in 2010 (I believe). She told the patient happily “you made it, you’re ready to go home!” and the lady responded that there was nothing good about surviving because she not only had no physical home to go back to but she lost her entire family. After hearing that story I realized life is unexpected and tomorrow is really never promised so I made a decision to let my dad back in. It was a slow start and the relationship seemed foreign which opened a new set of emotions but I took it for what it was even if it was a simple “hello” and very generic “how’s it going”.
Dad moved off to Florida so along with not speaking too much I did not see much of him; I only saw him when I went to Florida. He came up to NY when my grandfather passed away and for my 30th birthday/because I was pregnant with Kennedy; both times via train...a 24+ hour ride. During my pregnancy we started to speak more because he wanted to make sure his future grand baby was doing well and because I wanted him to be involved in this very important chapter of my life; I put in a lot of effort that was greatly appreciated and reciprocated by him. He also came up for my out of this world shower and helped execute the whole thing which I was so happy about because I really wanted him to see me pregnant in person; daily belly bump pictures was not the same as seeing that big ol' belly in person. Originally he was supposed to be taking the train to NY on my due date so that he could be here for or around the time of my labor but he landed a great new job and the start date was my due date. So unfortunately, my dad wasn't here for that day but I called him when my water broke and we FaceTimed him throughout my bajillion hours of labor...I'm not sure when/how/who told him once I gave birth (insert sad face).
Since the day Kennedy was born we do a WHOLE LOT OF FaceTime so that she can recognize him and more importantly have a relationship with her Grandpa. Both me and Jack were/are incredibly close to our grandparents so it is extremely important that Kennedy have that opportunity as well. At around 2 months we jumped on a plane and went to visit Abuelito and holy shit was it the most beautiful sight to see (video below, grab tissues). When asked "if God forbid tomorrow didn't come for one of us, would I regret not mending the relationship" the answer is HELL YES, I would end up living a life of CONTINUED pain and regret. People make mistakes (hell I have made some pretty jacked up mistakes and hurt people in my life); some bigger than others, some hurt a hell of a lot more than others. But I had to let go of the past, let go of the pain and anger; I had to actually forgive and move on for my sanity and well being but more importantly so that Kennedy can have a relationship with her Abuelito and vice versa. How could I ever prevent two people from loving each other. So my dear Kennedy, so tiny yet so powerful already; it's amazing how one being can heal wounds and mend relationships.