Father’s Day is the day when both fathers and sons celebrate their bond and relationship. Unfortunately, many fathers are away from their loved ones to meet other responsibilities.
Last Father’s Day, Boyle Heights resident Roberto ‘Bobby’ Mendoza was away from his then 2-year old son, Sebastian, preparing for this deployment to Afghanistan. This year, Mendoza will be home with his son.
As a sergeant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Mendoza, 34, has devoted his time and service as a member of the infantry for the past six years.
Mendoza spoke to Boyle Heights Beat about being a father, life in the military and his hopes for his young son.
BHB: Where were you last year during Father’s Day?
BM: I was deployed in Georgia, getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan.
How did it feel to be away from your son on such a special day?
Everyday was hard, but Father’s Day was harder; the fact that I couldn’t celebrate with my son. I live by pictures; that’s how I would get through it, and talking to him sometimes.
How did you feel when you became a father?
At first, I was surprised and shocked, but its one of the best feelings. It’s indescribable, but it’s a great feeling.
How has being a father changed your life?
I can’t put myself first, everything now is my son, everything is him, and whatever I do is for him. I have to think about what I do before I do it, so I always think of him before I do something. It’s not difficult, it’s just a big responsibility, and from my point of view, everything is for him. He comes before anything.
What do you hope to teach your child? What do you hope your child learns from you?
I’m hoping I can teach him to respect others, how to respect himself and common courtesy. Nowadays, it’s not the same. I want to teach him right from wrong, to value himself, be a hard worker and to never give up. I always want him to work hard and earn things in life. It’s actually a rewarding feeling when you earn things and they are not given to you. I want him to be humble and grounded.
What are you most looking forward to this Father’s Day?
This Father’s Day I am going to take him to the Dodger game. We are going to spend time at the game. After the game, they are going to open up the field, so hopefully we can enjoy that together.