“I’m sorry I’m not good enough. I’m sorry I can’t help you with your homework. I’m sorry I have an accent. I’m sorry I’m such an embarrassment.” Growing up, I heard my father utter these painful words as he looked tearfully into my eyes. But, even then, I wished I could make him see his true value in shaping me into the person I am today.
I want my father to see himself as I see him: as a hero. I want my father to know that his scarred and callused hands are not merely the hands of a working-class man, but the hands of a selfless father who has given up everything for his children. The countless scars, cicatrixes, and wounds that decorate his hands are like shining medals in my eyes. Yes, my father came from an impoverished town in Mexico, never earned a college degree, and arrived in America with nothing but the clothes on his back; but in my eyes, he is a hero and his scars are his superpowers. His scars tell the story of a young boy who crossed the border illegally into an unknown land in which people spoke a foreign language. They tell the story of a boy who was forced to work in the fields at the age of seven, later abandoned by his parents at the age of eight. Most importantly, they remind me of my story and of my background. They remind me that just as my father wears his scars proudly, so must I. His scars are a physical representation of his dedication to our family. They remind me that just as he works tirelessly from morning to night to provide for our family, I must work to fulfill my dreams.
I wish I could make my father see that his white beat-up work truck is worth more than any Mercedez and that his tattered work clothes are more valuable than any luxury business suit. Because, in my eyes, his run-down truck and stained clothing tell a story, not of wealth and privilege, but of perseverance and incomparable strength. His scars, beaten truck, and tattered clothing are the reasons I have the opportunity to achieve my dream. They have given me insight into the value of hard work and inspire me to challenge myself daily. One day, I will make my father realize how valuable he truly is. For now, all I can do is hold his hand, look into his eyes, and say, “I promise, you’re enough.”