Housed: Valley State Prison, Chowchilla, CA
There are some memories you don’t forget. Mine happens to be of my girls. They say you never stop being a dad and I follow that idea as best as I can. My babies are the only thing I wake up for, they are my reasons for pushing on, I may not be able to hold and kiss them, but I’m always here for them.
When I was 19, my oldest was still in her mother’s tummy. I was forced to make a decision in my hometown where there weren’t many jobs straight out of high school. Knowing I had this little one coming, I needed to do something. So I gave up my life to the US Army to give a life to my unborn daughter. I didn’t think twice and I didn’t blink, it was all for my daughter and my budding family. That choice paved the way for my oldest to see other states and countries. My sacrifice gave her clothes, food, and shelter. It also introduced her to different cultures, places, foods, and a whole score of experiences. On the other hand, she gave me motivation, strength, and desire to be all I could be. If I needed one more push to go one more mile, all I had to do was to think about my baby girl.
Fast forward a few years, I had left the army behind, and was in a new relationship and expecting my second child. When my youngest was born I wanted nothing more than to hold her and do better for her. I drove a cube van and delivered furniture from sun up to sun down in Toronto. I didn’t care if it was all for my little angel.
The two best memories I have are of my girls. I was a real big fan of the singer, Eminem. One day I had the song, My Dad’s Gone Crazy, playing. I noticed my daughter was smiling and singing along, so I turned down the radio and my daughter didn’t skip a beat. She kept singing, “I think my dad has gone crazy!” I smiled like a Cheshire cat that day.
The other memory is of my youngest, we were going to Walmart to get her picture taken in her first easter dress. She would sit there, but she wouldn’t smile. It didn’t matter if it was the photographer with her toys, her mother, or her brother making funny faces. She would only smile when I stood behind the camera after the picture was taken. Then, she jumped into my arms and wouldn’t let go. I still have that picture with me now.
I share these snippets to say, you never stop being a dad. My girls are grown now, but they will always be “daddy’s girls.” I may not be with them, but I’m always here for them. One day I’ll see them again and I just hope they can forgive me for not being there. They are my life.