A child, we’ve watched grow up in Woodland, graduated from college and we were invited to the party held in her honor. It was in the backyard of the grad’s parent’s home. We’ve known this family since we moved to Woodland 13 years ago and we’ve grown to love them. They are kind and generous and they absolutely serve the best Mexican food in town. The parents are restaurateurs in Woodland.
The party consisted mostly of family, many of whom came up from California to celebrate. I don’t speak Spanish, so I totally missed out on some lively conversations that I wished I could have been part of. I keep meaning to take Spanish. Everyone was gracious to us and they all spoke flawless English when speaking directly to us.
There was a young couple I was drawn to because of their nine-month-old baby named Camilla. They were so kind to spend some time with us “in English,” when most were enjoying their native language, which I totally understand. Generally I don’t write about parties we attend, but this morning as I sat down to my computer, I couldn’t get this young father out of my mind.
The couple just moved up to Washington from San Jose, California a month ago. The man had worked for one of the construction companies that built the Apple headquarters. He moved to Washington mainly because of the baby and the cost of living in California. He got a job right away (with benefits) and the cost for a two bedroom apartment in Washington turned out to be half what his one bedroom apartment was in California. This man was so grateful for everything, his work, his wife and his baby and I had to know more, as I had Camilla’s attention with a sparkly bracelet I was wearing.
He told us he never dreamed he’d leave his job in California even though it didn’t pay that much. He’d worked for the company without benefits for 15 years, since he was a young boy. He also never dreamed he’d settle down, get married and have a baby. When his wife got pregnant, he said he was scared, because he never wanted kids. He didn’t know anything about them and he felt he’d made a mistake. He talked about his shame for not being very excited when his wife was pregnant. He wished he could do the whole nine months over again. Now, he wants another baby and can’t wait until they can. He was telling us this as he was spooning re-fried beans into Camilla’s mouth to her glee (she clapped after every bite).
What caught my heart about this man (and the Mexican culture in general) was his love of family. His child transformed him in ways he wasn’t expecting. With her birth he suddenly was a completely different man. He had such compassion as a father and you could feel the love oozing out of his pores. After nine months, he still was amazed at what this child had done to him.
With Father's Day this weekend, let’s give those great fathers our love and admiration. I am surrounded by great fathers. My dad was a great dad and loved by everyone who knew him. My son, son-in-law and stepson-in-law are wonderful dads and Terry is a great father to his children and mine.