And so today has come around and once more, I wish my youngest son, Justin Lapeña Amador a Happy Birthday, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, no matter what you think, believe, or think you believe. I still fervently hope for the day when you start to think on your own, without your father influencing your thoughts; when you start to question what you blindly believe in because your father told you so; when you realize that you are NOT your father and do not need to agree with everything your father says or does, no matter how misguided or wrong. Today, you are 20. Today, you are no longer a teenager, no longer a child. I always pray and hope that you are on your way to becoming a loving, caring, sensitive, thoughtful man; generous to a fault, selfless, kind, helpful, honest, trustworthy, persistent–everything I tried to instill in you in the 13 short years I shared with you; everything you could not learn from a man who does not have any of those traits–but that is for you to discover, admit, and believe in. I wait for the day you choose to remove the blinders he has kept you in. I wait for the day you choose to see beyond the last 7 long years, extremely painful for me. I wait for the day you realize everything your father was and did that caused me grief when he began making you think the way you now do when you were but 6 years old. I wait for the day you realize that I never chose to leave you, but that because I chose not to return to him, his influence over you took full hold. So many things I wait for. So many things I wish for. So many things I cannot change and cannot explain because until you are your own man, you will not understand. Not the pain, not the angst, not the worry, the indignity, the suffering of all your father has caused me.
Whatever your choices now, there is nothing I can do until you take those steps that will help you realize and understand everything I have done for you. What kind of man will you be, Justin Lapeña Amador? What kind of son do you choose to be? What kind of professional, friend, partner, lover, and above all, human being do you choose to be? Your past is not something you can deny, nor is it something you can change. But you can make the future better if you learn to acknowledge and understand your past.
I cannot keep on refusing myself happiness, peace, transition, transformation. But I cannot think for you or decide for you. And neither should you allow your thoughts, beliefs, actions, and decisions be influenced by your father. The ball is in your court. Much as it pains me, I will no longer inflict more pain on myself by trying to reach out to you.
Happy birthday and good luck.