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The Latina Book Club welcomes Sujeiry, the First Lady of Love, to our Celebrating Men campaign.

To My Father, And All The Men Who’ve Come Along
By Sujeiry Gonzalez

Men. I haven’t had the best track record with them. The first man in my life abandoned my family when I was only 12. He had instructed me to wait for him in my home on Trinity Street, where I lived in Lawrence, MA. Snow fell from the sky, covering the streets in white, like the blanket that cloaks newborns. An hour later, I sat by the living room window, peeking as cars plowed by slowly.

His car never showed. He didn't call either. And with that, Papi vanished, not to be heard from again for another eight years.

What followed were a string of failed relationships with men who were just like Papi. I know that now, but at the time I couldn't pinpoint their similarities. Inconsistency was the common thread. They also left me. Still, I celebrate men, particularly the men who have come into my life and convinced me, through actions, that there are positive and loving men in this world.

There is Dave Robles, a creative, inspiring, humorous man whose warm heart is as contagious as the flu in winter.

There is David Temkin, a savvy businessman and the founder of SoLatina, a website for single mothers. He has become my unofficial advisor, offering to help just because he believes in my talent. No tricks. No hidden motives. Just a helping hand.

There is my ex-boyfriend, Luke, a single father by choice, as he took custody of his daughter. He is also my biggest fan. I remember how he beamed when I stepped on stage, sang my heart out, and spit prose. Once off stage, he waited with open arms. I’m so proud of you, he expressed, smiling from ear to ear. I melted into him, thrilled to have the support and admiration of a man that I loved.

As for my father, when I was a sophomore in college, my sister had a dream that he had passed. She called me, panicked and sobbing in fear. She was going to call him, she said, before it was too late. I shrugged, pretending not to care. Days later, my father called. When I heard his raspy voice for the first time in 8 years, I froze. He wept and apologized. I nodded, unsure of what to say to the first man who had entered and exited my life so inconsistently.

Today, we are better, and so is my track record with men. I am still single but my abandonment issues, though persistent, are under control. My wounds? They have healed, leaving behind scars that only I can see. Still, I look forward to connecting with my father, who just took me out to dinner a week ago. We sat there, face-to-face, stuffing our mouths with chicharon de pollo, tostones, and rice and beans. He listened as I shared my creative goals and dreams of becoming a published book author, consultant, and business owner. He spoke words of encouragement and, in the end, told me he loved me and believed in me. I smiled, realizing how much I need him in my life. How good it feels to be acknowledged by my father. And so I celebrate my father. I celebrate him for admitting his mistakes, loving me in his own way, and embracing the here and now. I celebrate him for starting anew with his children, attempting to rebuild broken links. I celebrate him and all other men who have allowed me to be me, all of me.

I celebrate you. I celebrate you. I celebrate you.♥

Sujeiry Gonzalez is a professional writer/performer who relishes on all that is love. With vibrancy, honesty and a sassarific attitude, Sujeiry’s humorous love stories, relationship advice, and her Pepa Power™ connect with all women, warranting her the title of Sujeiry, 1st Lady of Love. Find Sujeiry daily on!