“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned.”
Song of Solomon 8:7
I was born in La Jolla, California with a silver spoon in my mouth, though I have gotten to points where i had no spoons:) My late-father was a U.S. Marine and a soldiers soldier..he became a 101st Airborne Ranger, a Screaming Eagle as they call themselves. Mom is a math teacher of teachers. Dad would wake me up at 5:30 every morning to do calisthenics and run before school. He’d get me out of bed and gently walk me to the shower. He’d turn it on and leave. Of course, I would sleep standing up on leaning on the towel rack and he’d have to come back in and prompt me to go into the shower. In the middle of our run we would stop at the church and pray, then continue running. Mom is Cuban-American and was/is the family therapist for my sisters and I. She was always my strongest advocate through thick and thin. In our runs, Dad and I would always have a segment were we would sprint. He taught me to run on my toes like the Olympians… to raise my knees up high and use my arms as wings to hit higher speeds and avoid injury. I hated that shit every morning. Yet looking back, I am so grateful for his lovingkindness toward me. The dude loved me. Mom made sure I made it to school on time. She made sure I had all my academics in-line. She was the one I would go to to complain about Dad’s toughness. She always/ does make me feel better. Poor her. She is a receptacle for all that is inside of my sisters and I. She takes it all, as do most mothers, right?! God bless her and all Mom’s.
Both parents have been All-American in the values they have yearned to instill in me. These are universal values: developing and sustaining grit with hard, focused work, being kind to others even when they are not kind to us, doing the right thing even when others are not watching and, if you can weather it, serving God instantly both day and night.
Faltered I have. This is known by those closest to me, yet my heart has always been in the right place. Though I have fallen seven times, I get back up… sometimes others help me back up:)
Lately, my family has grown, changed and morphed into a dynamic, fluid reality. I empathize with the youth at Scalzi skatepark and I believe that I am picking up on their awareness in little ways.. a little bit here, a little bit there:) I am also becoming even more aware than I was before. Doing so, I recognize that it is in my moments of greatest tenderness, as well as my greatest toughness that moments of awareness have displayed themselves upon me. I know not the names of scores of police officers I come into contact with, yet to me they are like family now. We may not know each other’s names (I actually look to keep a low-profile), but because we are working towards a common cause for the community, I can’t but help notice that we are shoulder to shoulder. My heart goes out to their dedication, as it does to each civil servant, like the firefighters, the paramedics… all the first responders. These are the true hero’s who must balance being both soft and hard daily. That is tough stuff! Knowing how to be hard and soft.
My parents, for better or for worse, instilled these traits in me and my experiences and the people who have entered my life have solidified it one day at a time…For this I am grateful.
Growing up, my childhood was both blessed and traumatizing at times, as it has been for everyone…every one. Still here, I look back and see how it has all led me to this point. Looking around myself, I count my blessings and though things are far from ideal in my life right now (my heart is broken), I count myself happy that I can still be a force of positive influence in the lives of others. This is my greatest joy. That I can be a man of value to those around me. It is my hope that others may not see loftiness in me, but loving service and a kind heart that works to make things better for others.
In the end, I want to be at peace with my children, raise them up and be a presence in their lives, that when they think of Daddy, that they do so with admiration for the value I bring (present tense) to others.