By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | June 17, 2015
Last year Mr. Ramirez did something he had been putting off for some time; he took the leap and bought a new wallet. He was about to throw the old one out and I stopped him, remembering my own father’s billfold and the interest it held for me with all its crevasses and contents.
“It’s falling apart, what could you want with that worn-out thing?” he questioned.
I turned gave him That Look.
My husband has daughters with obviously no clue what it is to be a daughter. I tucked the wallet in my desk where it remained until this week when I was cleaning. Seeing it again, with its edges worn smooth and my husband’s information tucked inside, brought up unexpected emotions. Anyone would see this as a used up money and credit card holder but what I saw was more than 35 years of living: Picking up staples on his way home, buying the crib for our daughter, buying books and school supplies for the girls, quick trips for pizza, putting gas in the car and so on.
Upon opening his wallet, the first thing my husband would see was the pictures of our four- and eight-year-old daughters dressed in similar outfits. Over the years I suggested new photos but he loved those familiar faces – one wearing glasses and the other without. I also look back to a time when we did not know that he has Asperger’s, where change of any kind is difficult and affection was never easy. His role in our family was often detached and set apart from us as if we were a family annex that he was responsible for, but not interested in.
Holding this worn-out wallet I understand that as difficult as our years were with Mr. Ramirez, we could count on him to be responsible, to keep a roof over our heads and to send both girls to college, even when he did not approve of their field of studies. In his own way, I believe that he has loved us in spite the fact that he does not understand what love is.
Mr. Ramirez’s wallet will be carefully wrapped in tissue then wrapped inside his threadbare work shirt, ink stained from his years as an engineer, and presented to our eldest and his firstborn daughter. I can only imagine her thoughts…
Happy Father’s Day!
PHOTO: Courtesy of Mr. R. and his old, discarded wallet.
Copyright © 2015 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.
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