I sat in my apartment “studying” for finals listening to music and drinking tequila with friends when someone played, “Que falta me hace mi padre” on Youtube

Cómo lo voy a olvidar
Siempre lo tengo en mi mente
El me enseño a trabajar
Me aconsejó a ser decente

After a couple more drinks, I decided to text my parents, the same message to both, Love you, I wrote.

My mom replied, “love you two” and my dad replied, “What’s wrong?” That’s dad, to the point and efficient and always seeking answers to help solve a problem.

I grew up in a household with three sisters, my mom, and our dog, Sandy. Dad was the only male in house. We were (are) all opinionated and mine is rooted from my father’s teachings. Do what is best for the people, question everything, read, be kind, and do not let others walk all over you. I took everything to heart. When I began to question even the existence of a god, I know that upset him. He said I was taking it too far. And during my sister’s high school graduation when people stood for the national anthem; my 8-year-old sister asked what we were doing and I said very loudly, “We are regurgitating a nationalist and patriotic poison fed to us by the government.” My dad started laughing. He thinks I’m radical. I think he simply helped shape me into a self-sufficient free-thinking mujer. He guided me to become someone who does not fear speaking her voice, who does not fear to tell it like it is, and who believes that doing the right thing is always important, even if I became more “radical” than he expected. Pa, you have to remember you’re the one who attempted to offend me by saying, “You sound like a closeted Republican!

I owe everything that I am to my father. I know he aspires for me to own a home and have stability because that is something that is often not present in our community. I sometimes want that too. I also want to experience life to the fullest and I am not certain if a stable home in the United States will offer that to me. I also want to live abroad and enjoying the finer things in life like he taught us (goat milk blue cheese snacks between our flautas y chiles rellenos). I know I will be okay with whatever path I choose because he always taught me to make smart decisions, but my dad also helped me expand my mind beyond what I was told I could accomplish as a 1st generation Latina. That is one of the greatest assets I hold in this world, the privilege and the ability to be genuine and true to myself.

Pa, I fear the day I will no longer be able to call you and tell you how I told a company I was going to file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Affairs because they pissed me off with something I found to be fraud or racist. You’d laugh and tell me not everything is racist, but tell me I did a good job for standing up to these corporations. I fear the day I will no longer receive your one-worded text messages because you’re absolutely to the point and hate cell phones.

I hope we make you proud of who we become because my fear is that you sacrificed your goals in order to allow your daughters to follow theirs. You’re the epitome of what I consider to be a great father and a great man. You taught us to walk away from anyone who mistreats us because you are the standard of what an incredible man should be like. Un buen tipo mi viejo yo soy tu sangre, mi viejo.

Love you pa.

Alejandra Quintero

Peleonera por siempre