Since today was the only day you could be scheduled for your surgery, I’m writing to you in hopes that when you come back from the clinic you will be able to read my letter for Saint Valentine’s Day. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that we have been so lucky to have so much of our lives together. I know our time apart was difficult – for both of us – but every day I thank God that our family survived and remained intact when so many other families were torn apart.
I was thinking the other day about our jobs at the laundry when we met, and the letter I wrote to your parents. I always thought that I would be the one to provide for you but for so long you and your parents had to provide for and shelter me. I tried to never show how hard it was for me to accept their help in the beginning of those dark days. I don’t know if I did a good job or not. You never brought it up. But the worse things got, the more I came to realize that we all were in this together and needed to rely on each other without pride or pretense. Even though I would have given anything to have avoided having to leave and return to live in hiding and under assumed names and all the horrors of the dictatorship, I am so grateful for the way your parents took us in and taught me so much about humility, hospitality, and family. I don’t know if I ever told them that, but I want to tell you.
When I look over our years together, it seems like so much of it was just trying to stay alive. I think that is part of the reason why we both treasure our son so much. In some ways, raising a child was the only thing we could do not just to survive, but to live, to not let our fears control us.
I am going to visit Mateo and Patricia today before stopping by the hospital. I will kiss little Roberto for you. Maybe I can even bring you a new picture if Mateo will help me work this new digital camera. Isn’t it incredible the things they have these days? Who would have thought of that when we were their age? So much has changed over the course of our lives. I am thankful that our marriage has become the stronger for it.