To what I did and said
Rest in my arms,
Sleep in my bed,
There’s a design
I’m very proud of you, son. This might come as a surprise, I know. Can’t say I have ever been the father you needed or deserved. And that is exactly why I’m so proud. Look at you: despite of it all, you’ve grown to become a man. Not just any man. A successful, accomplished man. You’ve followed your heart and worked hard to be where you are in the world, in your career and your life. Things weren’t easy, but you powered through every single challenge that came your way. And you got hurt and mangled in the process, but you picked yourself from the floor and stood up to fight another day, over and over again. You didn’t get that from me. I never really taught you much. I was too busy cheating on your mom and constantly abusing her in front of you. Told you to never get married nor have kids, because it would ruin your life. You could see in my eyes and hear in my voice how adamant I was about that. I truly meant it. I felt my life was over, so I did everything I could to run away from this truth. This family I had was my downfall. So I constantly pushed you guys away. I’m sure you will only remember me like the angry grunt that would come home late, slamming doors, breaking plates and smashing pots, shouting “Go to your room!” Yeah, can’t blame you. How could I ask you to see me as more than a piece of shit? How could I ask you to call me “Dad” without a certain tone of disdain? I’m a failure of a father figure and a negligent parent. You have no idea how deeply sorry I am for all of that. But here you stand tall, and have managed to become your own man, not following my screwed up lead. Sure, I give you that you ain’t perfect. But, who is? Look around you! How many guys who had less harming parents are much crappier human beings? Don’t be so hard on yourself. You never got a good head start, and still got ahead in the race. You don’t owe any of that to me, only to yourself. And that’s why I take pride. I worked so hard to become this absent, violent and all-round shitty father, that I pushed you hard to go the other way. To stir your whole construction of masculinity to a completely different direction than what I taught you in your formative years. I couldn’t do that for myself. You are aware your granddad was as crappy as me. A raging, aggressive alcoholic who couldn’t care less about his offspring. I find comfort in knowing I could’ve been much worse than I did, don’t you agree? I didn’t beat your mom… I mean, not that many times and never in front of you… that I can recall. Yes, I kept the alcohol problem. Kudos to you for overcoming that, by the way! Was it because you didn’t want to be like me? I’d say so. Just like everything else, no? You are a much better man than I could ever be, Eduardo. But the fact you made it okay doesn’t mean you must follow my footsteps if you ever decide to not listen to me and actually get a family of your own. Continue being nothing like me. Change the narrative of your heritage. Be the one Hernández who didn’t fuck up. Who lived truthful to himself, who walked the path he believed in, who treated people with respect and loved wholeheartedly. Continue being the man you always wanted your father to be, but never was.
Eduardo Hernández (in behalf of Mr. Eduardo Hernández Sr.)