As I sat in church, yesterday, listening to the talks on Father's, I was able to relect upon my own father.
My dad, Luis Enrique Sanchez-Rivera was born in Puerto Rico in the 1940's. When he was about 7 years old, his family moved to the United States and settled in New Jersey. This is where he met my mom, married, had my sister and me. Dad was in the 82nd Airbourne Division in the Army. The military took us many places like California, Texas, and North Carolina. My dad took several different languages courses while in the Army...Russian, Polish, German...and I remember him eating Polish Sausages for lunch with mustard and lots of Saur Kraut. I can't spell. I remember seeing him in his Army BDUs. I remember that when he got out of the military he wanted to move the family to Missouri.
We called it Misery. He went back to school to get his Masters and taught Spanish at a high school. Missouri is where most of my fondest memories are of my dad. He taught me to play basketball. I love basketball. Back then I played for the middle school and Junior High teams so height wasn't an issue for me. However, my dad taught me that I would have to be quick and a good shot to succeed. I remember practicing with him and it seemed like he never missed a shot. It was incredible.
Once my team was playing in a tournament and one of the games fell on Sunday. He told me that I could choose what to do. Well I chose poorly and decided to play on Sunday. He took my agency away from me and told me that I had been taught to keep the Sabbath day holy and playing basketball on Sunday was not the right decision. However, he did let me go and cheer my team on. Some of my teammates were mad at me...they lost...I felt terrible. I know my dad made the right decision for me because I think of the choices my children are making now...and they are so much more righteous than me. They know that we don't go to birthday parties on Sunday...or attend baseball practices on Sunday...and I am thankful for that. I am thankful for my dad teaching me that at a young age and for making the correct decision for me so that I could teach my children to choose the right.
My dad is battling Dimensia now and doesn't remember a lot. Sometimes he forgets that I don't live near him or he forgets the names of my children. This can be frusterating for him and me...but as long as I have those memories...I can share them with him. What a blessing that is to me. And will help me to remember him. I have been so blessed with a father who loves me. I have never had to think twice about that. He's always been there for me when I've needed him and I love watching him with my kids. They love him so much. One Christmas, Kennidy came to me and said, 'I know who Santa Claus is!' I was stunned. 'Who is it?' I asked. 'It's Grandpa Sanchez!' A couple of years later when she was carpooling to school...she informed all her friends that her Grandpa was Santa. She's convinced all our kids that Grandpa Sanchez is the really Santa Claus. I love it.
Happy Father's Day, Dad! We love you.