By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
There’s a saying that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. Now, I don’t entirely agree with that sentiment. I think the definition of “family” evolves as we grow older. I know I definitely have some friends who I consider part of my family. However, we aren’t able to decide who our parents will be before we’re born.
From single parent families to blended families, the people who become our parents can seem dependent on the luck of the draw. In that regard, I often tell people that I feel like I hit the parent lottery. Both my mom and dad have been steady, positive and encouraging influences throughout my life. I couldn’t have had better parents even if God had given me a choice and asked me to create an ideal parent checklist.
Since we’ll be celebrating Father’s Day this weekend, though, I’d like to dedicate this week’s column to my dad and share with you some anecdotes about why he’s the No. 1 Dad.
It’s no surprise that there are certain expectations for little boys and little girls in Latino culture. You could sum it up with the old nursery rhyme about girls being made of “sugar and spice and all things nice” while boys are made of “snips and snails and puppy dog tails.”
If you took one look at me as a kid, though, you’d wonder where I was hiding all the sugar and spice. I felt more at home making mud pies, playing on jungle gyms, and skinning my knees on long afternoons spent bike riding with my big brother and his friends than I did with dolls or dresses.
Never once during my childhood did my dad tell me those things weren’t appropriate activities for his little girl. As I got older, dad’s quiet support of my non-traditional interests continued. Together, we built a photography darkroom in a spare room of my parents’ house. We constructed walls to partition the room, built custom counters and installed and plumbed a darkroom sink, all together.
I’ve helped him change the brakes on his vehicles and he taught me how to change my oil, something I still take pride in doing today. I once proudly told him about a time I stopped to help a young woman stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire.
When I come to him with some new plan or hobby, his reaction has always been to ask how he can offer support. Nowadays, he has become a trusted confidant whom I rely upon for his wisdom and advice.
It may not seem like such a big deal at first. He was and is just doing what any good parent would do, right? Not so.
It’s a big deal when studies show that little girls are often ignored or passed over in math and science classes in favor of their male classmates. It’s a big deal when there are still industries where women are severely underrepresented. Take Fortune 500 companies, for example. Currently, there are only about 20 female CEOs at the helm of such companies, accounting for a whopping 4 percent of available CEO positions.
Growing up, though, with a dad who was always such a stalwart champion for all of his children, I never bought into the idea that my dreams had limits. That’s a powerful gift to impart to your children, and for that I am grateful. Like I said, I hit the parent lottery.
What about you? What makes your dad the No. 1 Dad in the world? Let us know online at www.portisabelsouthpadre.com.
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