My father died, and my family has never been the same. I was only two years old, so I can't remember him, although I believe in this one memory of crying and crying and then him picking me up out my crib and hugging me as I quickly stop crying. Did this really happen? I'm sure it did hundreds of times in the 27 months I was his baby girl. It's a memory so vivid I've dreamed of it, but who can really know what it's possible for the brain and heart to remember at such a young age. I choose to believe in this memory. It belongs to him and me alone. And although I'm envious more than they'll ever know of my three older siblings, who can tell story after story about our father, I feel special every time I relive that memory.
So as this day ends (technically, another day has already begun, but I'm still awake , so it's still the 10th in spirit), I pay tribute to my "Papi" -- a word I'm sure once came as naturally to me as "Mami," but is now so difficult to say without getting teary. What a handsome sum I would pay to remember saying it . He was, I hear, the life of the party, a friend among friends, a lover of dancing, drinking, my mother -- his gorgeous wife. May he live on in that one perfect memory, that one never-ending dream.