Dear Baby: Here are some things you need to know about your dad

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1. He is Cuban. You won’t understand this for years and years. When you visit your family in Havana everything will slowly start to come together, but even when you understand what cubanidad is, you might not be able to articulate it. That’s okay.

2. He came to this country on a boat. If he gets anxious about trips and seems to overpack, try to be patient and understanding. He left Cuba with nothing, so now he really likes to be prepared.

3. He believes in the power of words. He believes there are some words so painful that the damage can’t be undone, ever.  He also believes there are words that have the power to change everything for the better.

4. He’s a wonderful listener…. one of, if not the best, I’ve ever known. He will always listen to you, always.

5. He’s really hoping you’ll be able to dance. And he’s a good dancer, so dance with him. There’s nothing more lovely than seeing a daughter dance with her father. I’m crying just thinking about it. Besides, I can’t dance and it’ll take the pressure off me.

6. He can be side-splittingly funny. He once had me awake at 3 in the morning laughing for 30 minutes without stopping.

7. He won’t let you go outside with wet hair or without a coat.  It’s just one of his things. Don’t fight it.

8. He makes notes when he’s reading and keeps them inside books. I adore this about him.

9.  He is a very good driver. He’s not always a very good passenger, however. He likes to tell others how to drive.

10. One of his favorite books is 100 Years of Solitude. He read it in two days. One day, you’ll understand how significant this is.

11. If he has anything to do with it, you’ll never know what McDonald’s is. But don’t worry about that. You can tell all your friends that he makes the very best hamburgers and homemade french fries in the whole world.

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