The only reason I regret waiting to have children
I don't regret waiting to have children until I was 33 except for one thing: my dad didn't get to meet them. And that really sucks...
I adored my dad like no other. He was my hero, my teacher, my role model, my rock. ¡Era mi papá! I could spend hours talking to him. He was the kind of man who was always learning and who taught by example. He was intelligent, well-read, inquisitive, artistic and he was a master in the kitchen to boot. He cared deeply for and about his family and he was the best abuelito to my niece and my stepson. My kids would've had so much fun with my dad and he, in turn, would've showered them with unending love.
But today marks eight years since he died and now I'm left attempting to tell my children about this amazing man whom I was blessed to call papi. I have to try to explain why I loved him so much and how much it hurts that they didn't get a chance to meet each other. And I have, but I don't know how much they really understand.
How could they, though? Vanessa is only 5 and Santiago only 2. I always talk to them about my dad, but as the anniversary of his death approaches, I tend to talk even more. A few days ago, I was telling my son about my dad and when I said "está en el cielo" he asked me, "¿volando en un avión?" He's obsessed with airplanes.
Vanessa asks a lot more questions than Santiago, obviously, and wants to know stuff like how long it has been, how did I feel when he died and how old was he when he died. And so I answer those questions and I also tell her a lot of stories about the kind of dad he was. And as she looks at me with her big brown eyes, I'm not sure how much she really gets.
Oh, my dad would've had so much fun with Santiago's crazy ideas and Vanessa's witty remarks! He would've spoiled them rotten, celebrated all their mischief and taught them all kinds of awesome things. But that will never be. And although I hope they'll one day get a sense of who he was and how much he meant to me, I'm sure it's really hard to learn to love an abuelito you've never met, somebody who died several years before you were born and whom you only know from photos, videos and stories.
Even so, I don't give up...
How do you teach your kids about your loved ones who are no longer here?