I struggle daily with the dysfunctional word around me, work, family, friends, news and politics all contribute to distract me from my inner personal goals. Inner peace eludes me constantly. Contentment is always just beyond my grasp. My spirituality, balance, desires, doubts, dreams, energy, dignity, inspiration and hope all lack focus……that is until I reach for the enigma that is my parents unconditional love. Their example is a constant “touch stone” for me. Their strength, their “inner will“, was not a birthright. It was hard-fought, claimed as their own, but freely shared.
Mommy and Poppi, as they will always be called by me, are not perfect, but only because that was never their goal. I suspect if it had, they would have been that also. Children of immigrants (if you can count P.R. as another country, some think it is), but products of what is uniquely American. They are Parents, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents. They are brothers, sisters ,aunts and uncles… even when biologically that may not be the case. Their will is for “something” better for their family and friends, and balance in their own lives.
When I struggle in my role as father and teacher, I look to the man who was both. My memories often go back to a few days, in my childhood, when my father taught me to ride a “two-wheeler”. I remember him running up and down our street, holding on to that bicycle, many trips back and forth, back and forth, the fact he had just gotten home from a really demanding job just minutes before,would not slow him down. I remember falling over constantly only to be repeatedly caught in his arms, the frustration not showing in his eyes, his legs bruised and bloodied by me and my bike, not slowing him down. I remember that final time he let go and as the pride in his eyes turned to fear, when he realized we had not spent much time on the concept of “stopping”, and that was not slowing me down. It was not until much later that I learned he did not know how to ride a bike himself.
Years later as I lay in my bed, in an intensive care room, after a near fatal wrestling match with a locomotive, my first good wide awake memory was my mother’s loving touch. Up until then, my mind clouded by pain, medications and hallucinations was roaming freely. My mother’s touch brought it home again. I remember the recurring hallucination/ dream at the time, was that I was being held captive. I remember thinking how bizarre, this can’t really be happening…after all my mother is the legendary SUPER-HERO, WONDER WOMAN, and she should be here by now…..and then she was. Mommy has never let go my hand to this day.