And I Wonder …

Jose 8 Comments

img_6158-vi.jpg“Find your dreams come true
And I wonder if you know
What it means
To find your dreams …”

I’ve been forced to do a lot of reflection as far as my father’s terrible health right now. The growth I’ve gone through since I’ve seen him has been tremendous. I don’t think I’ve gone through this much growth in such a short period of time since adolescence, and it’s been more inner growth than anything. I’ve come to a bunch of realizations:

– I can’t stand when kids keep getting switched from class to class; it’s bad enough they don’t have stable situations at home. Now we have to switch them constantly in school too? Everything’s in flux for them and school should be more stable than that. I’m going to write a letter to the principal about that. Just when we were starting to gel as a class, and getting things in order, this abrupt change happens. Kinda like a father who comes and goes as he pleases, we have to wonder how the student will react to that constant change.

– I’m completely not ready for children. As much as I’m excited about the prospect of having a child someday, I also realize it’s hard work, and it takes a certain mentality to be a good parent. I’m not ready for that responsibility, and I’m not willing to bend my definition of what it means to be a father for my own selfish purposes. I’d like to be there through and through, but that’s the whole thing about being my age: much more mature than most people in my age group, yet not mature enough to just shut down all that comes with this youth. I’ve resisted becoming so much like my father that it scares me when I even get an inkling that I might be following his path.

– I’m over it. That visit to him in February really helped me grow as a person. I thought I’d swear him off forever, but I made my peace with that man. For those who’ve just met me, check the next poem.

“Original of the Species” by JLV 2007 ©

He’s got this raspy bass about his voice
A French accent to accompany the vocals, too
His dark, rough, weathered, and brown skin
Glistened against the reflected light from the dashboard
His frames tinted, as any Miami resident should have
I envisioned this rather handsome gentleman seducing the women
Who soon became my brothers’ and sisters’ mothers
And mine as well
The ID hanging from his rear view mirror took me aback
For it felt that the ID had some sort of mirror
I started to scan his face for the manly features in my own frame
My lips were certainly fuller than his
And my eyes bulged while his just barely opened
Yet his head and mine were almost identical
His mind and mine worked similarly
And his squint reminded me of mine
I felt like that kid again
The one who admired the other half of his DNA
His intonations through some of his questions yielding a sense of promise
As if the past was too quickly gone and
The future was ours
His charm only enhanced by the fact that I knew who he passed it onto
I came to this city seeking some sort of completeness from seeing him
And showing him that I am a man now
Despite his own faults
Instead, I am a man because of his faults
I inherit all from him
And as I grew, I had to filter out that which was not me about him
Become someone
Become that man
Become me
I am now the original of my species …

jose, who flies out on Thursday …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 8

  1. Repairman

    Thanks for the insight into your vision of your father, Jose.

    I didn’t become a dad till I was 40. I was ready to focus on my child by then and had my immaturity behind me. My boy went everywhere with my wife and me and did all the cool stuff…camping, vacation travel, school stuff, hanging out. (He’s the one holding the fish on http://www.fishdeschutes.com homepage.)

    You’ll be a great dad. You don’t need to watch a clock or have a countdown. ;-)

  2. CaliforniaTeacherGuy

    Yes, we do inherit a lot from our fathers, both good and bad, and there’s a lot of filtering out to do. As you continue to filter, may only the good remain.

    Best wishes on your journey. May this time with your father be life-changing for both of you.

  3. Jared

    Hey man, thanks for the comment. Nothing but the best wishes for you and your family. I hope that things are as well as they can be right now, and I hope for the best outcome. My dad went through his own serious health problems earlier this year, and I hate that it took that for me to realize and understand certain things, but I am thankful that I was able to get something positive out of a bad situation. Peace, and I do mean, peace.

  4. Athena-Liana Smith

    It took me decades to understand and appreciate my parents. The best book I can recommend is A Thousand Splendid Suns, the story is about a woman in Afghanistan, but the tortous relationships emerge in the end and take your breath away.

    As for the children and the class switching, you are right. They go through hell at home and we say “that is not my problem.” Until one day they become our problem.

    Too bad this country is not investing more in primary and secondary education, really too bad….

  5. Frumteacher

    I tried to leave a comment to your newest post, but in vain, something is wrong with the comment section (it doesn’t appear). I just wanted to wish you all the best. Despite the difficult situation, it must strengthen you to be surrounded by your family and to feel that you can build something new.

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