My dad is courageous, kind and resourceful, and brought me to America where I have lived a most privileged life -- one not possible in Cuba. With his 5th grade education, he worked all kinds of jobs and always provided. Unlike many of his counterparts, he wasn't overbearing and instead let me choose my own style, including the length of my shorts, and supported most of my adventures. I still recall the drive to catch a ride to NYC which changed the course of my life. Only in his old age has he become sentimental, so I was surprised when the man of few words said he believed I could accomplish anything I set my mind to and held me as I cried and flew away from the nest. I am externally grateful for his unconditional love. and the matter-of-fact, common sense wisdom he freely offers. Feliz Dia de los Padres, Papi!
When I was 19 and working at the University of Miami, I met who would come to be affectionately known as my Gringo Dad, Richard Urbano. Many people don't know that I actually knew Rick before I became friends with my BFF Jenni, his daughter. Rick and Terri did all kinds of things to help me get through college and to NYC, including providing shelter to me and my cats! Rick has always been a constant guiding source of wisdom, love and comic relief, especially in the face of major life challenges. Given their life-long dedication to the field of disabilities, since Lucas' birth, Rick and Terri provided a level of listening, understanding and compassion I don't have anywhere else -- it has been instrumental in shaping who I am as a parent and an advocate. Thank you for the many ways you continue to listen, care and support me through this wild journey. There aren't enough words to express my love and gratitude, but here's a start. Happy Father's Day!