By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
I’ve got the best dad in the world. That’s not an idle brag, nor is it a sleight at other dads, but it is the truth. That doesn’t mean your dad isn’t the best dad in the world. They both can hold the title. It’s like love: the more you give, the more you have.
But anyway, back to why my dad is the best. I’m lucky to have both my parents, and luckier still that they have served as such great examples of what it means to be parents, spouses, friends and people.
My dad didn’t come from the most privileged background. He grew up as the middle child of 15 children — the exact middle child. He was number 8. My grandparents were migrant farm workers who traveled to the Pacific Northwest to harvest fields of potatoes, lima beans, and other crops throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
There’s a stereotype about the birth order of children that states middle children are usually good negotiators and peace keepers. That definitely applies to my dad. Growing up with enough siblings to field the offensive half of a football team and then some, dad is the most patient person I have ever met. Though he can make his voice boom across a church without the aid of a microphone (he’s been a minister since he was a young adult), that voice is never raised in anger. Rather, you’re more likely to hear my dad laughing as he tells a corny joke. Yes, he laughs at his own jokes, and if you heard them, you would, too.
All those years traveling back and forth across the country as a migrant put my dad at an educational disadvantage, forcing him to drop out of high school, but not forcing him to give up on his education. He eventually earned his GED, attended trade school and then Bible college. To this day, he still actively seeks out new things to learn, signing up for educational seminars at Pan Am, webinars online or losing himself in a book. All of this is on top of working full time, helping his church pastor by delivering sermons on Sundays, (and sometimes on Wednesdays), and doing “honey-do’s” around the house on his days off. The idea of sitting still is a foreign one to him.
Then there’s my mom. My dad adores his wife. They’ve been married for four decades now and really are still as in love as the day they met. Almost every night my parents will sit across the kitchen table from each other sipping coffee and nibbling on pan dulce while they play a game of dominoes.
Dad has never given a lecture because he’s never had to. He’s shown by lifelong example what it means to be a good person. From him I have learned the value of hard work. I have learned how to persevere. I have learned how to laugh. I have learned how to be curious. I have learned the meaning of truly unconditional love. Daily, I strive to be even half as good as him. He’s the best.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
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