Becoming a dad has brought so many blessings along with some enlightenment about life. We think differently, see things we couldn't see before, and love those around us with a greater meaning. As life moves on we begin to realize the importance of being a dad / father figure, and want the best for our children. We raise them the best way that we can, according to what we were taught, have seen, or learned throughout the years. In my opinion there is no correct or prefect way of parenting, we are all different and come from different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. Nobody is perfect, but we can always be the best we can be, not for ourselves anymore but being the best for them.

Growing up I saw my dad work long and hard workdays then come home, tired obviously, and then go about the usual routine of showering, eat dinner, watch some tv, and go to sleep. This was the usual, with the exception of some days where my dad had a day off or was on vacation. Now that I'm older, I realize the efforts a hard working man does for his family and I don't take them for granted. He would take us to a local park (for those familiar with the Houston Area, this park is the Burnett Bayland Community Park on Chimney Rock and Gulfton) and to this day remember some of the fondest memories I had there with my dad and siblings. The importance of being there and showing your children how important they are to you is one of the greatest things a child can appreciate. I know I do, and i'm thankful for the things my dad did with us. At the time he may have thought it was just another day at the park, but for me, it was my happiness, it was my world, everything was perfect. 
Camila and I at the Battleship in San Jacinto

Men have been traditionally seen as the providers and protectors of the family, but in today's culture you can see both parents the same way. Being the provider doesn't mean you just provide food and shelter, it means that we also teach our children valuable lessons and provide them with knowledge about life. Take it a step further, be what every child wants, their best friend. Give them the courage to take on the hard lessons in life and support them in doing the things they love. Coming from a Latino household, I think it's safe to say that the majority of the dads want their boys and/or girls to play soccer, and so I did play soccer. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but then again, I was only about 6 years old. I loved to run and was very competitive, so I joined the track team in middle school and did so again in high school. I loved running so much that I even did cross country. Going back to what I said earlier about soccer, my dad really wanted to see me play soccer, nobody had to tell me that, i could just see it in his face. My body was growing and developing in the way that everyone wanted me to be a defender or a goal keeper. Wasn't me. He supported me in my decisions and did so 100%. I also picked up the music genes from the family and started playing instruments. Again, he supported me all the way and never tried to make me deviate from my passions. These are the things that will make me remember him until my last days.

I'm sure most have heard someone say "he's a mommas boy" or " she's a daddy's girl", bur it's all different now. There's no such thing really, we just run to the parent that we can best relate to in certain situations. As a father to a beautiful baby girl, I feel the need to teach her to be strong and understanding of others, especially in these times we live in today. She'll be strong to take on any negative comments, hardships, bad experiences, and understand that it's all ok. Life will get better, if you want and allow it to be. She doesn't have to come to me all the time, there will be times where she will go to her mom to talk and share things. I live to be everything for my baby girl, even when i'm not sure if I'm doing something right or don't understand her completely, i'm doing it with love.

Our Lovely Family

So after reading this, I hope we can all realize we are more than what we think we are. We don't really know ourselves until we know the impact we do in other's lives. It's a wonderful thing to know that we are a dad, but a question to reflect on is: do our children see us as a dad, or are we just simply the provider?

There are many parents that say " nobody knows my children like I do" but in all sense of it, do they really know them? Have we spent enough time with them to understand what's really going on in their lives? Have we created a relationship of trust with them to where they can share anything with us? These are some of the questions you may find yourself asking and a guide to keep me in check when my baby gets older. 

I'm a dad, not because I made myself one, but because I want to be one.

Camila trying to take her first steps

What are some childhood memories spent with dad that have stayed with you?