When I was just 5 months old, my father took me on my first plane ride to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is hands down one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. (I’m not just saying that because I am Puerto Rican). In fact, it is home to one of the top 10 beaches in the world, Culebra! It is so nice, my father decided to build a house there for his parents to retire. PR is also one of the few places in the world that has a bioluminescent bay. This is a bay you visit at night and you take a wand and hold it in the water and the water changes all different type of neon colors! It’s absolutely amazing. The water glows because of special plankton that lives in the water, and when disturbed “glows.” The main reason I love Puerto Rico though is the people. Puerto Ricans happen to be the most loving and fun people I know. We are always down to party and have a good time and we love to take care of people, it’s just in our blood. My father taught us from a young age to always be proud of who we are, to never judge, and always be accepting of everyone. My father goes out of his way to make sure everyone in the house is comfortable and taken care of. All of my friends love him too. He is always asking them if they’re hungry, thirsty, and if you need anything at all let him know. He will literally bust out the pots and pans and cook us a feast if we say we are hungry! He learned these actions from my Grandma (rest her soul). Every time I went to Puerto Rico, my dad would call ahead to his friends to let them know I was coming down and to look after his little girl. My dad is a firm believer in giving and never asks for anything in return. He is such a humble guy but one thing he is prideful about is being Puerto Rican. He sure made his kids the same way. When I hear the Anthem of Puerto Rico I get chills. I have never been so proud of anything in my life then to be Puerto Rican. When we were younger my dad took us as a family to one of the biggest parades in NYC, the Puerto Rican Day parade. So many Puerto Ricans in one place, it was a sight I loved seeing. People of all ages: from infants to elderly all together celebrating Puerto Rico. Dressed from head to toe in red, white, and blue outfits, waving the Puerto Rican flag, people danced as one unity throughout the streets. Whether you knew the person standing next to you or not, on this day you were considered family.
This is what life is all about; celebration and love. Puerto Ricans love so hard (I am a prime example) our hearts are so big. All we want to do is celebrate life, laugh, and of course cook for everyone. One thing I have always admired about my dad is how giving he is, and I try my best to be the same way. You can just see the joy on his face when helps others and it brings joy to me to watch. This year we got to attend the parade together.
I haven’t been able to go the past few years and my father hasn’t been to the parade in over a decade. To be able to experience this again with him was priceless. When we got there I was filled with such emotion. It brought back the memories I had with him as a little girl. To see the smile on his face was more than I could ever ask for. I literally got teary eyed, my father never asks for anything and just to be there and see the smile on his face as he took pride in his heritage, will be something I will never forget. We enjoyed all the different floats and the music playing. After the parade, he took me uptown to Spanish Harlem to eat dinner and enjoy his old neighborhood.
As we get older we forget our parents are getting older too. We get so busy in our lives entering into adulthood we don’t spend as much time with our parents as we used to. He has given me so much all my life, but it is these little things that mean the most to me. To be able to spend a little quality time with my father and bond, is absolutely priceless and is something I will cherish forever. We may not always see eye to eye, but one thing is I know my father loves me more than anything. He always puts his family first and made sacrifices his whole life for us. Thank you dad for all that you do. I might not say it all the time, or even enough, but it doesn’t go unnoticed all that you have done for me. I love you dad and thanking you for showing me that l-o-v-e is most important and second to be proud of who we are. Thank you for the memories we created yesterday, and the pleasure was all mine. Happy Father’s Day POP! Love always your Puerto Rican Princess.