My dad won the election. The sad, bitter, and hurt seventh grader that was once me, confused by the distance her father wedged between her for his job is now at peace with his win today.
It’s to be said that I’m a sensitive soul and at the time struggled with the natural process of hormonal imbalances, gossip amongst friends, sibling drama and the personal struggles of a young child, I couldn’t understand why my dad had to run for judge. He had already, in my delicate mind that is, favored time spent with my siblings than with me and here he had chosen yet another dream to pursue and I wasn’t included—again a child’s perspective. He didn’t win then. He didn’t win the second time when I was a junior in high school. By that time we didn’t speak to one another. I was dating a guy he didn’t like and I was still holding on to childish resentment, thinking he would never understand or even like me at my age. I saw the weight it bore on my mother, all the energy and effort she poured into his campaigns only to have them be for nought. I resented him even more, thinking he was acting out of his own selfishness and causing us all to be worn and tired from battling such a corrupt judicial system.
We started talking again a few months before i left for college but there were times when being alone with my father was uncomfortable. It was like being in a room with a stranger who use to wipe your ass and taught you your first words and my first word just so happened to be “shit” as he was driving me around town at 8 months, a gag he would later show off in front of friends and family members. We are both proud of that precious moment.
When he broke the news of his desire to run again for the third time, against the same man, we were all… hesitant to agree. We were in Florida during thanksgiving and it was the first time seeing my entire family since the summer and here he was breaking the news to us. The inner child within exploded with frustration but I calmly listened to his reasons. I wasn’t sold but last summer him and I were driving somewhere (yea it’s still awkward for me to be around my father alone sometimes but only because I’ll always be that 5 year old girl grinning up at my superhero dad and at the same time 15 looking at a man who’s a stranger that cooks me dinner every night and has no idea who I am all while being a grown woman, forgetting she’s grown in front of her father) did he open his heart and tell me things about his passions and dreams for the juvenile courts. He talked for a while about how he wants to change laredo’s corrupted judicial system and for the first time in my life I saw him as the great man he is. It must pain him to have missed out on so much of my life and all because he knew that he could make a great big difference in his community. As adults we forget that children don’t understand the concept of sacrifice for the greater good, we forget that children haven’t suffered as long as we have and therefore often leave them feeling abandoned by our personal endeavors without proper explanation. Only now do i understand him.
He’s a tough man but a bigger softy than any of us realize. Cheers to my poppa bear for teaching us all to get up no matter how hard you are knocked down, to believe in a brighter future even when you face hell every day, for caring about the youth that isn’t his, and for teaching me how to forgive. There’s so much I could say but for now, this will be all that I will expose of myself.