I love you. I appreciate you.

We are all products of our upbringing. Good or bad.

My father was an alcoholic. Beat me. Beat us.

Yet, I loved him. I wanted to be him. I wanted him to love me.

As a child I never heard many words of encouragement. Much less of love.

In talking to other Mexican children from my generation I’ve found it to be a theme.

I needed his love! I needed his respect. I needed to know that I was making him proud.

I needed him to say it aloud. My ears needed to hear it. Don’t we all?

But I never got it.

I made a promise at a very, very early age that anyone I cared for will always know I loved them.

My friends.

Anyone that I came into contact with and made an impact in my life will know how much I love them.

They will know how much I appreciate them.

The women in my life will know I loved them. I care for them. I admire them for putting up with me.

They will know how much I appreciate them for pushing myself to the edge and making me a better man in some way.

Though not always the way they envisioned.

Most of all, my children will know how much I love them. How much I adored them.

There will not be a day where they will doubt or wonder. Not one.

Even when the moments of difficulty and tough love, they will know.

Even when they hate me for refusing to bend to their every whim. They will know.

Even when I’m not here. They will know.

I love you.

By Teevee Aguirre