It didn’t come easy though.
They accomplished all of this, even if it meant working two (at times three) jobs. Even if it meant scrubbing floors, toilets, hospitals, classrooms. Even if it meant working all day and night and surviving on only two hours of sleep.
Even if it meant tears and days where we all just cried ourselves to sleep.
Growing up, my dad gave me everything I wanted. He let me play sports, bought me nice clothes and toys, a new car—even if he had to sneak by my mother so that she wouldn’t get upset about how much he was spoiling me.
But at the same time, my dad expected straight As, and to succeed and excel in everything that I did. At times I would get so mad at him and scream and complain about why he made me study so much when all of my friends were out having fun. His reply was always, “So you don’t ever have to live a hard life like us.”
I always wondered how my dad made it, how he and my mom brought up three successful children and stayed together through it all.
This year, my parents will have been married for 35 years, and to say they’ve been through a lot is an understatement. They made sacrifices that threatened their relationship with each other, with their brothers and sisters, and even their own parents—all for us.
There is never a day that goes by where my dad doesn’t tell me “I love you” before going to bed. It’s with this unconditional love that keeps him going strong, and that keeps him smiling every day no matter how tough things can be.
I was blind to this until that day I saw my dad at his most vulnerable point. Looking at him, bent over in my arms like a little child, I realized that unconditional love does not come easy; it is something learned and practiced.
It is through the toughest times, the happiest times, and every single obstacle of life that you can discover new ways of loving.