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Best Friends, Mom & Dad

Best Friends, Mom & Dad

Hello and good day!

I've written a daily email, like this one I am writing now, for 442 days in a row., This is my 443rd out of a set goal of 1,000 days straight, and I am confident that I will achieve my goal. 

If you've been following along for any amount of time, be it 2 days, or all 443, I want to thank you.

This endeavor began as a way to prove my dedication to our business. I figured that if I could do something for 1,000 days in a row, weekends included, despite sickness or traveling, the world would know how much we care about what we're doing. And that care must result in continued business success.It has played out as planned, and I am sure that it will continue to go in that direction.

But it is becoming something more than that to me.

Once you have presented every surface topic that you can think of, and to be honest there is only so much you can say about chocolate, you must go deeper. You have to start digging. Sometimes when you go digging in your mind, you come across a thought, memory, or idea that captures you.

It holds you in a tight grip. You can't stop thinking about it or feeling it. That happens to me frequently now and I can't have any peace until I write it and send it out. It is a very peculiar thing. If you weren't here to read what I put down, I'd be walking around possessed by thoughts, sometimes so intensely that I may be unable to function.

So, I thank you.

I came across a memory a few days back that has absolutely been plaguing me. It has cast me into something of a stupor. I thought it might be too personal to write, but I have no other choice.

I read an article a few years ago about the benefits of crying. When scientists studied the chemical composition of tears, they found that tears contain the very chemical that makes you feel sad. By crying, you flush out the sadness and thus feel better afterwards. To hold it in is to poison yourself with grief.

So here goes nothing.

I've come to realize that my parents are my best friends. When it is all said and done, they are the ones. My brother Brian too. My wife is my soul mate.

But my parents are my best, best friends in the world. They probably always have been, but I didn't understand the depth of what this means until recently.

My parents were older parents. My mom had to reverse a tubal ligation to make my conception possible. My dad was a childless 43-year-old man who had more or less given up on the idea of having a kid.

They met unexpectedly and fell in love.

Doctors reconnected the tubes and I came into the world, a blessing for them and a blessing for me. Growing up, my dad always promised me that he'd stick around long enough to dance all night at my 40th birthday party. My dad lost his father to Hodgkins when he was just four years old.

He grew up without a dad and he made a pledge to me that I wouldn't have to suffer a similar fate. He'd be around to see me through. You hear a promise like that as a kid and it doesn't mean much.

My 40th birthday? Why even talk about it? I'll never be 40. My dad will never be 83. I'll always be young. And dad will always be the biggest, strongest, smartest, bravest man in the world. My hero. That will never change.

The hero part didn't change.

But our ages did. My 40th birthday rolled around. I had a family of my own and had fallen out of the custom of celebrating my birthdays.

I had to work the next day and taking a trip to San Diego to celebrate for one night with my pop didn't seem like a practical use of time.Funny how that goes, huh? You grow up and you become jaded. That special promise from my childhood didn't mean as much as it should have. I'd taken it for granted.

Instead, we scheduled a Zoom call to listen to music together and perhaps dance if the spirit took us. I was sitting in front of a laptop in my home office, and dad was on a laptop in his.

"What should we listen to pop?" I asked. "Whatever you want, son," he said. There is one song above all others that makes me think of my dad.

My Way, by Frank Sinatra. My dad knows and I know and anybody who knows my dad knows that nobody has done it their way like him.

He built a luxury hotel in a slum and transformed downtown San Diego. He had the hotel stolen from him by a crooked investor. At age 69 he put up his life savings to start a chocolate business in the northern Peruvian jungle.

He had just one son, with a woman whose tubes had been tied. My Way came on and I touched the screen. He touched his screen too. We stared at each other, touching our screens, listening to the music.

"I love you dad," I said. "I love you too son. Happy fortieth," he said.

"We made it dad," I said. "We sure did son," he said.

So, who is your best friend in the world?

For me it didn't turn out to be that group of guys I drank beer with all night when I was young. Rather, it was the one who stayed home worrying, hoping I'd make it back safe. It was the one I 'd hollered at on my way out the door because I thought he was trying to smother me.

It's the one who tells me I better go to the doctor when hears the merest sniffle. The one who tells me how proud he is of me, even though I'm a grown up.

I'm a father and a husband and a business owner. I have a college degree. Three of them actually. Two bachelors and a masters.

But when this man says he's proud of me I still feel like a little kid again.Your best friend is the one who stays up late thinking about you.

He could think about anything in the world, but he's tossing and turning, thinking about you, hoping you're doing ok, hoping your runny nose clears up soon.

One of life's strangest ironies is that many times you don't appreciate what you've got while you've got it. You find out who your best friends are thirty-five years later than you should have. I should have realized back when my dad used to wrestle on the floor with me in the middle of dinner parties that he was the best pal I'd ever know.

I hope you have a best friend, and that you know who they are, and that you appreciate them in the present.

We're a small family-owned chocolate business over here at Fortunato Chocolate. And now you know that one of the owners is a hopeless sentimentalist who loves his parents.

I genuinely appreciate you for allowing me to express this.

Thank you.