That scar on my left thigh is from a burn.
I was a toddler in El Salvador and, according to my family, my dad picked me up to try and protect me from something while he was also holding a cigarette. He DID protect me from the bigger threat, but burned me in the process.
Besides some genes, this is the only thing I have from him.
I haven’t seen him since I moved to the US in 1991 just before I turned 5 and have only talked with him a few times... None during my adult life. I don't blame him. I'm not upset with him, I don't miss him. My mom left to give me a better life. He let me go to give me a better life. I'd probably do the same in their situations but I can't imagine or try to pretend that I'd know what it's like. My children are blessed to want for nothing but good wifi.
I’ve been thinking about my parents a lot lately. I see so much of my mom in myself... and so much of myself in Douglas and Isabella. A bit of which scares me. Mostly because I thought of those things as weaknesses... not having a dad around has definitely shaped me. I'm strong, independent, and know I don't need a man to feel valued. But there are other ways. Ones that are embarrassing, hold me back, and are too personal to share with you here.
I’m glad both of my kids will have a lovely dad to hold memories of.
But those things that shaped me... I seemed to have passed those on despite them having some of the things that lacked in my life. Even the bad parts. I'm here learning to deal with it all through therapy and mindfulness, while at the same time seeing that I'll have to teach them to do the same.
I’ve determined to instill in them that all of the facets that make up their personalities now and in the future will only be weaknesses if they allow them to be. That any of them can be a strength, a superpower if used timely and graciously.
But more importantly, I’m learning that that’s true for me too. That the best way to teach them this truth is not only to say it, and write it here like I always do. But to model it.