It’s one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life so far. I have three rowdy boys: Kevin, 6, Qurtis, 5, and Quinn, 2.
Becoming a father was everything I had ever wanted, which was surprising for someone who was only 22 years old. I was raised to practice and cherish core family values. So when I took on the role of fatherhood, I worked to leave no stone unturned. Kevin is my stepson. I first met him when he was 9 months old. I did the best I could to make sure I got the right milk, the right Pampers and the right clothing sizes. I even took charge in making sure Kevin had a memorable first birthday party.
My second son, Qurtis, came the next year, and Quinn arrived two years later. I vividly remember the day they were born. I cut their umbilical cords and took them in my arms, and I was the happiest man alive. I even looked forward to the sleepless nights and smiled each time I was awakened by the faint late night cries that signaled me to get up and make their bottles of warm milk.
My sons’ mother and I have known each other since middle school, but our relationship was filled with trials. So in the end, we decided to stick to only being parents to our boys, rather than being a couple.
My boys are hilarious and make me feel like a kid myself. The trio was quite a handful when I took them out on the town. We’d watch a movie, run around the local playgrounds, pig out on junk food or hang out at the beach. They were dreams come true and blessings for me.
But the day came when I had to make a life-changing decision. I relocated to Central Texas in December to get my college degree and move on to the next step in my career. It’s a change I decided to make so that I could build a better life and future for my boys.
Now my boys live with their mother in Guam, thousands of miles away, and it’s been six months since I last saw them in person. I call them throughout the week to find out what they’re up to and how they’re growing. Qurtis and Kevin are getting ready to start summer school, while Quinn will spend the summer hanging out with his grandma, AudreyLynn.
I also catch up with them when we video chat on Skype and Facetime. Those are really the days I love most, getting to see them for a few moments and watching the smiles on their faces, hearing my youngest say “Daddy.”
It’s very hard for a father to be separated from his sons for this long ... at least, it is for me. This is the first Father’s Day I will be apart from them. The time away has been emotionally tough. I find myself holding back sadness every time Kevin asks me if I’m coming home soon.
I know they’re in good hands. All I can do is continue to study hard and work toward getting the boys here to live with me. It’s become the driving force behind everything I do today, including sharpening my journalism skills.
During the last call I had with my boys, I told Kevin I would be home for Christmas, and he responded by asking if I could get him a new iPad. My boys are quite a funny bunch.
I can’t wait until the next two school semesters go by and I can be reunited once again with Kevin, Qurtis and Quinn when I visit Guam in December.
Daddy loves and misses you all.
Nick Delgado is a Herald correspondent and student at The Art Institute in Austin.