20 May 2017
Yvette, middle name is Starla…ever since I was a child I have loved stars. I imagined being in the stars and was fascinated with them…so I gave her the name not knowing it would be a perfect fit.
“Star, you are my fighting spirit, my soul…you have shown me how to stay in the fight no matter how difficult the challenge is. You have also shown me I was loved…unconditionally loved by a complete stranger. Just by chance, I was there for your birth and it was scary. As the time got closer for your delivery, your umbilical cord was being constricted so you weren’t receiving adequate oxygen (that was your first fight). It was scaring the doctors, so of course, it scared me. They were just about to do an emergency C-section but your mother pushed you out far enough that the doctors could assist in the rest. You were nine pounds of beauty with a lot of hair, but with a really bruised face. Ugh. The worst feeling for a man is the feeling of being helpless, and when it comes to your new child… feeling helpless is a nightmare.”
I was home for the first five months, long enough that she would recognize my voice and perk up, it was exhilarating to see. I would wake up every other hour because she wouldn’t wake up crying like other newborns. Nope this girl would sleep in until 8am and make life easy (lol). She had light brown hair and olive skin like mine.
Around month five or six, I was off to Ranger School…and came back after graduating with an injury. This little girl was a chubby ‘roly- poly’. I came home and she was attached (remember this is the complete opposite of the oldest daughter). She was calm in my arms and slept. She was a daddy’s girl to give it its full understanding.
By the time I got out of the Army she was two and a half years old and Hunter had just been born. I moved to Arizona and lived a normal civilian style life, work, but home every night. Well, most of the nights because I was gone for a while when I went to Drill Sergeant School…but again I came back and she’d come running.
This was the big difference in being available and around in the early days of the kids’ lives. For my oldest, I was gone for the better part of the first year. But for Star I was home for five months, gone the next, and then back for four months. But then I was gone again for six months for language school and back for two more months and then gone again for four…. and boom… home for almost a year and a half before I left anywhere again. But I think from being home as much as I was, she was always running back. And I loved it.
In 2009 I left for the border patrol. I can remember as an adult I have cried, like no shit, bawled my eyes out twice as an adult. Both were for military friends who were all killed during my time in the military. My little girl woke up early the day I was leaving and asked if she could go with me to get gas. She was four years old, but somehow knew she would have a little more time with me if she went with. Her mother took her to the gas station so I could fill up and leave from there.
As it came time to leave, I bent down to tell her bye, and she started to cry. I saw her tears and the real pain on her face and it broke me… it changed me and I started to bawl my eyes out. I felt bad and actually questioned if I should even leave. I had tears running down my face so bad… I almost didn’t understand where these emotions were coming from. It was different.
I drove sixteen hours to the Border Patrol Del Rio headquarters and every ten minutes I questioned if I should just turn around and get back home to the kids. It was seven days before Holden’s birth (another story I will talk about on his time).
In 2013 I became the custodial parent of my four kids. We moved to El Paso and the kids started to play sports. My Star has always been the ‘Debbie Downer’ of the group and it might be because I was gone a lot and she was upset. I don’t know, either way, she didn’t want to play any sports. I told her she can play anything she wants… and nothing.
Until the boys’ first wrestling tournament…
She watched and told me she wanted to wrestle. I was stunned but excited. She always surprised me with the things she liked and has always been more of a tomboy then anything. Her first practice she cried, but I didn’t let her quit. I told her that she said she wanted to wrestle, well now she had to finish the season. Second practice she cried for the first ten minutes and then she fought like hell.
Her first tournament was three days after her first practice. Her first match was against a boy…who was sixty pounds. I was a wreck. I was working and asked the coach to let me know what happened. I couldn’t breathe and I was so scared for my baby girl. She won! She fucking won! Who the hell wins on their first wrestling match after three days of learning???? I was at work fighting the tears.
To watch this girl wrestle you can see real heart. She fights so hard… I swear I have to walk away so I don’t cry out of excitement and pride. She has a fighter’s soul like my father. It’s hard to express in words what it’s like watching my daughter wrestle. Recently she has had a run of losses and it’s starting to affect her emotionally. She genuinely thinks she sucks at wrestling (keep in mind she is wrestling boys half the time, and losing very close matches).
Losing isn’t always a loss… The goal isn’t to be the best ten year old in the world and it isn’t to be the greatest youth wrestler in Texas. The goal is to get better daily. You learn from your losses and identify where you made mistakes. You have missed some points that would have gave you some wins. You have had a few mental breakdowns that caused you to lose focus.
But… what you have never done is quit. You have a fight in you that is unmatched, so now it’s time to tighten up your shot group and make strides to becoming a better wrestler and person. Losing will just make you that much more prepared to take on life and all its challenges. You are building resiliency that will be important in the future… in whatever path you take.
Thank you for showing me heart with no reservations, showing me a fearless approach to difficult challenges. I will try to take your approach to wrestling and use it towards life. Daddy Loves you, Star Bear..