I am not yet a mother, nor is Salvador a father. I do not know if we will ever be parents, but I do think about the possibilities. While I do not feel that we are inherently destined to be the mother or father our mothers and fathers were, I do believe that we often act similarly to our role models in life.
Salvador did not grow up knowing his father. Lorenzo walked out when Sal was only three years old–old enough to have flashing memories of the man and old enough to remember the pain of his leaving. The family–three kids and his mom–could not survive in their tiny colonia without his income. So his mother left for Mexico City, taking her youngest with her, and leaving Sal and his older sister to be raised by their grandparents. As a result, when Sal lost his father, he lost his mother, too.
Salvador speaks of his grandfather with great reverence. This man became his father when he was three years old and saw him into adolescence before he passed. He is the primary father role model in my husband’s life. I never had the opportunity to meet the man, but I know things about him via my husband. I know that he was strong, loving, at times irrational, angered a bit too easily, put his family above all else, and dearly loved his grandson. His name was Pablo, and if Salvador and I ever do have a son, that will be his name.
From the age of 14 to 24, there was no father figure in my husband’s life. At that age, he was already working to support his family, having ended his education tragically young. During those years he worked in fireworks sales, on various farms, and in construction before coming to the United States to work in restaurant kitchens. In one of those kitchens, he met me. About a year later, we moved in with my family to save money for the immigration process.
Salvador quickly came to adore my father–and rightfully so, as he is a wonderful man. It seemed that everything my father did, Sal wanted to be able to do right along side him. They mowed the lawn together, installed sinks together, and watched shoot-em-up movies together. Randomly, Sal would bring up “Bob Said” moments to justify one thing or another that he was doing or speaking about; and when I could not convince him of something, all I had to do was whip out my very own “Bob Said”.
I has been over a year since my husband has been able to see my father, and I do not know if he will ever see him in person again, but I see the lasting effects of their relationship every time I am with my husband. I know that each of the three father figures in his life have given him many things which he will carry with him–both what he wants to be as a father and what he will never allow himself to be. While I do not know if he will ever be a father, I feel quite confident that if he does, he will enter into his new role with enough knowledge to do well.