When I was in the 6th grade at my elementary/middle school, there was an overweight, light-skinned Mexican kid with thick, combed hair named Marty.
The only thing I knew about Marty: after the school day ended and we were in the school yard, I saw him run to and hug his dad with such a genuine joy and lightness. It was the fastest I’d seen him run; it was like he was 5 years old or something. I don’t know if he rarely saw his dad; he seemed like he was coming from work, dressed in a shirt and tie.
There was something beautiful, genuine, untainted about the way they did this.
I never imagined myself doing that with my dad.
Then one day, over the PA, there was an announcement. I had not seen Marty in a while.
Over the PA, the principal announced that Marty’s father had died.
I instantly thought about those fleeting moments when I’d see someone who really loved his dad, lose that person. It didn’t seem to be fair. It’s a especially a shame because I used to be embarrassed about being seen with my parents at the mall.
I’ve never had a conversation with Marty; I hope he’s doing well today.
But this memory is I am grateful everyday for what I have, and an excuse to take big chances and opportunities. “Having dreams is what makes life tolerable.” Taking them I will continue to do, doing right by my folks, working and improving all the time.