Today, I wanted to dedicate a special blog post to two of my favorite men in my life, my husband and my dad. With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, it seemed appropriate to share how much they mean to me and honor them for all that they do for me and my family.
My earliest memory of my dad is when we lived in my grandmother’s two-family home. Every Sunday night, we would all sit down in the living room to watch the Disney Sunday movie. I remember seeing Cinderella’s castle in every introduction and the song, “When You Wish Upon A Star.” My parents are the real reason my love of Disney started so early. It was one of my favorite things to do with them.
I always remember my dad being a DIYer in every home we lived in and that was before it was popular. My dad can do it all, electrical work, woodworking, painting, carpentry. Matter of fact, we have a running joke in our family that once my dad completed every project in our house, we would have to move! No more projects meant my dad needed a new house to work on. Every house I lived in; my dad had his hand in making it our home.
I loved all our homes, and yes, there has been many. I wrote a little about this in my first family home post a few months ago, but when it was time for me to move on and find a place of my own, he was the first one there to help not only find the perfect place, but also to of course renovate it any way we wanted. Oh, and I’m saying “we,” because my sister and I decided to leave our parents home at the same time, and we purchased our first condo together.
Years later, when my parents announced they were moving to North Carolina, my sister and I couldn’t believe it. First, the fact they were going to move away from us was shocking! When we realized they were serious and we would now have another home very close to the beach, we were all for it. Although, I can tell you it was probably the hardest decision they ever made and deep down, it was difficult for us to watch them leave. They had a home built in the beautiful Sunset Beach community of North Carolina. They stayed there for about four years before returning to New Jersey. Why? They couldn’t be away from my sister and me any longer.
I’m happy they returned. My parents purchased a home about an hour away. They were so happy to be here when I was pregnant with my boys and they stayed with us the first six months after they were born until my mom’s diagnosis. Once my mom was diagnosed with cancer, my dad never left her side.
My dad went to every doctor, chemo appointment, stayed overnight sleeping on a chair whenever she was hospitalized. He did everything and anything he could for her. The day we found out that her cancer had spread, I watched him sit and cry that he didn’t want to be here without her. It broke my heart. I knew that this would be extremely difficult for him to go through and get through. My mom was everything. He was her everything. I wasn’t sure how he would be after she passed away and I can tell you it wasn’t easy for him.
About a year after my mom passed away, his cancer returned after 20 years. We were all devastated but with the grace of God, he was able to get through it. A few months ago, we found out it has once again returned. I didn’t write much about it at the time, because we were all processing the news and finding out his next steps. The cancer that has returned is a very slow growing type of cancer. After some conversations with his oncologist, he is now being treated without chemo, but in a pill form. He will continue to be monitored as he progresses with this treatment.
Today, I am pleased to say he is happy. Minus the cancer returning, he is in great shape, good health, good spirits, and has found love again. One of the many things my mom told him while she was sick was, he would find love again. He responded saying, “Who would want me?” My mom told him, “You’ll see.” She was right. He met a lovely woman at church. She went through a very similar situation, losing her husband to cancer the year before my mom died. Together, they have been a fun, loving couple. Traveling the world and enjoying each other’s company. I know my mom is happy that my dad has been able to find love again. As strange as, and believe me, my sister and I had to adjust to this, we are happy he has found love again too. We really love her, and we know he is in good hands.
My dad is my hero. As every dad should be to their daughters. He still supports me in every way he can. He stays with us about 2-3 days a week helping me with my boys. He takes them to and from school, plays games with them, and showers them with gifts just as my mom would have if she was still here. He helps me with the laundry and other things around the house. I couldn’t get through most days without his help. I truly appreciate him being here and I know he loves us. Of course, the feeling is mutual. Thank you, dad, for everything. I know mom is proud of you and so are we. Happy Father’s Day.
When we were trying to plan for a family, we never imagined it would take us so long. Yes, we knew we were working against a clock, but at no time did we ever think it wouldn’t happen. This is mainly because my husband and I decided that no matter what, we would keep trying. Whether it was meant for us to have our own children, or adopt, we knew we both were on the same page about everything. I’m sharing this with you because as Father’s Day approaches this weekend, I know in my heart that my husband is not only a great husband but a great father for our boys. I always knew he would be a great dad because he had such a great role model in his dad.
Holidays are often difficult when someone you loved, such as a parent, is no longer with us. Gabe’s dad passed away a few years ago, but I wanted to acknowledge and honor him as I did with my mom for Mother’s Day.
Gabe’s dad Angel, born in Cuba, was a very proud man. Deeply rooted in his culture and heritage, and a graduate of La Salle, he worked as an accountant in Cuba and met Gabe’s mom at the bus stop. He followed her home, just so he could meet her. As they say, the rest is history and Angel married his sweetheart on April 20, 1963. When Fidel’s regime started to take over Cuba, his parents started their 14 -year journey to leave Cuba. In 1981, after 14 years of waiting to get out of Cuba, Gabe’s parents and his two brothers left Cuba to live temporarily in Spain before coming to the United States. Gabe’s parents were determined to provide a better life for their children and because of their sacrifices, Gabe is always trying to live up to and beyond their accomplishments. I can assure you that he has been doing just that. Gabe will always be determined, motivated and hard-working when it comes to his family. He has always taken care of me and our children, and always finds a way to make things right the best way he can.
After I became pregnant with our boys, we excitedly planned our future. We were thrilled about having twins and the day I went in to have my c-section, we both were nervous but anxiously awaiting our boys. When he told me about Michael having to be in the NICU, he never led on that it was anything other than a precautionary measure and he would be fine. He took care of me while I recovered from my c-section, helping me bathe, dress and getting me to and from the NICU to see Michael. We both agreed that we grew closer and deeper in love during my pregnancy and the birth of our children.
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, his support never ever failed me. He held me up, cried with me and picked me up on days when I was literally on the floor. I can’t imagine getting through that whole process without him by my side.
When our son was diagnosed with Autism, we had no idea what this diagnosis would mean to our son and to our family, but we both had each other’s back. We never could have imagined the obstacles and financial challenges in providing services for our son. Gabe has always put our family first and when we needed to have additional funds, he wasted no time in taking a second job. This is in addition to working at his current full-time job, which requires him to commute an hour and a half each day.
When my dad’s cancer returned, he was the one who initiated my dad staying with us and for us to be his caretakers. He helped me as we arranged the guest bedroom for my dad to be comfortable in during his treatments.
When I had my lung cancer surgery, I never had to worry about logistics, care for my boys and everything else that had to be arranged, Gabe worked everything out for our family. When I asked him after my surgery if I had cancer, he said, yes, but they removed it. He never once gave me a reason to worry about the test we were still waiting on.
Gabe has always been supportive of anything I’ve wanted to do. He’s also encouraged me to do things when I didn’t think I could. He was the one motivated me to go back to school and earn my college degree. He also convinced me that I could get my real estate license when I was laid off from a job and didn’t know what to do with myself. When I told him, I was thinking about starting this blog, he said to me, “What are you waiting for?”
Gabe has always been my biggest supporter and fan and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He is such a good man, very much like his dad. His dad was very proud of his accomplishments and the day we got married, Angel never stopped smiling that entire day. I love Angel and Teresa for raising their son to become the man I fell in love with and married.
Gabe, I just want you to know how much I love and appreciate you and what a great father you have become to our boys. Your dad is very proud of you and so am I. I have no doubt that your dad is smiling and watching over us as we continue this journey together. Happy Father’s Day.