A Poem for Fathers

With my father, former Tucson City Councilman Hector A. Morales, Jr., circa 1970. (Family Photo)

I am in his constant shadow and in his constant light.

Some are absent. Absent in soul and absent in presence. Some are not worthy of love and praise, much less a solitary day.

Some cause pain, yet some ease worry. Some step in to fill the void. Some give cause to be removed and, yet some come to rescue the blood of the body and the dreams of the dreamers.

Some are uncles and some are grandparents. Some are brothers and some are strangers. Some are teachers and some, even mothers. Some, even two mothers and some, even two fathers.

Some are there from birth. Some leave and some stay. Some stay but are gone yet some leave but never left.

Some cannot express the heart and some cannot hold near. Some are proud yet cannot speak it and some demand it but never give. Still, some cheer and some cry and some love freely.

Some play catch, some play with tools. Some give advice when asked and some offer when unprovoked.

Some are the worst of us and some are the best but many are a combination of both. All are flawed, and some more than others.

Some have tried, some even till the day they died.

My own did great things for the many but he had to leave and visit the many to do his good. What I did not – could not – understand as a child, I am in awe of as a man. I am in his constant shadow and in his constant light.

He hurt me when I needed, and I need it a lot. But he loved me truly and I need that more now that he’s gone.

I see him in my dreams, a young man, much younger than me. I know we talk, as we once did, but I cannot recall of what till last week.

He appeared with a beard, something he never wore. I asked, I pleaded for advice but he smiled and looked away. I always fear that will be the last of him but I still dream of him to this day.

I realize what I saw was not him but me. It’s time to move on for he gave me all he could. He taught me to do good rather than well. He taught me to not just tolerate but to accept. He taught me to stand where I sit, so choose my chair with care.

I know I am better than most, but not as good as I could. I have tried, I have lied, I have cried. I have failed. I have succeeded.

But the dreams of my children are my dreams. I may not always deserve their love, for no one can demand it, but I have given it to them without condition. They know of my pride for them and of my love for they have heard it, for I have shown it. It’s all I can really do.

They are not in my shadow but they are my light.

Fathers are not perfect but I thank those who have tried. We carry a heavy burden. Carry it well, for one day your children may see you in their dreams. Or they might not. It’s up to you.

With my three daughters.


Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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