3 things I learned from having an OFW parent

My dad had been working abroad as an Engineer for as long as I can remember. He had been our pen pal back when snail mails were still a thing. My memories of him coming home once a year in the past is filled with trips to the mall and dining out but that and all the pasalubong and his home cooked meals were worth every day.

One day, we attended a grand reunion of our relatives from the mothers’ side. Fortunately, he was here in Manila to come with us. My mom volunteered me as the emcee for the whole event even though I didn’t know anyone from the hundreds who were there. Given my standards, I know I did not perform well because I wasn’t a host to begin with. I only think about it but not live it. My dad was at the front row. Even when people decided that it’s more fun to just gather in pockets of conversations, he was still there listening to me amid the empty chairs that surround him. It’s when I realized I would always have his attention and love.

A couple of years ago, my dad went home for a two-week vacation to attend my wedding. Although I am a predictable person, that wedding came to him (and to everyone else) as a surprise. I can tell that he did not approve wholeheartedly when he cried during it because I still am his baby girl. Putting myself in his shoe, I’d think that I spent my whole life working abroad to help my kids finish their school. Now that I’ve aged I’d come home to them getting married one by one. Where has the time gone? It is devastating when you think of it from that perspective. But I know that even though I am already married and have a s0n, that he’s still the first man in my life.

He allowed me to get married anyway because he knew it’s for the best and it’s what I wanted. That’s how our parents love us. They know in some way that our decisions aren’t ripe at the moment but they stand with us and hold our hands anyway.

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My parents did not complain when I chose an artsy course in college. They paid my tuition all the way. I know of some people whose parents demanded that they shift to a course that would land them in higher-paying jobs. Looking back, I feel a little spoiled and lucky to have such parents.

There’s so many things I want to say but a blog entry isn’t enough. These aren’t the only examples there are so many more but too personal. 🙂 I guess all I’m saying is that I am grateful for my father and mother’s love. Now that I am a parent I already know somehow what it feels like to be in their shoes (can’t believe I didn’t see it earlier haha) but I know that there are more to learn.

For now, let me list the 3 things I learned from having an OFW parent:

  1. TIME IS IMPORTANT

Our OFW parent/s make the biggest sacrifice anyone could ever make. It’s giving up their time to be with the people that they love. So we have to give them the respect that they deserve. Likewise, we must value our own time. This could mean our time in school. Let’s make sure we graduate on time. That we study for our exams on time. Make time for earning degrees, meeting people and having dinner with the family. Time travels so fast that in a moment, you won’t notice that your kid is already getting married. Also, let’s make time saving up or growing our money so in time, we could give back what we owe to our parents. We are tasked to take care of them too. So as early as one’s teenage years, let’s teach people to invest in mutual funds or stocks. Be smart.

2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST

During one of my dad’s vacations, we sat at a fast food chain and casually talked about things. I asked him, “what has going abroad taught you?” And he answered, if you give all your money to your family at home, you end up old and not having money for yourself. It was funny and hurtful at the same time. It’s then that I realized that it is ok to give to the people we love but we have to take care of ourselves first, too. We must be filled first in order for us to be able to share ourselves to anyone.

3. BE A GOOD PERSON

This means being kind to the people around you. Our dads/moms aren’t there to correct us whenever we say a bad word or think badly of another person. And it’s going to be one of their biggest regrets in the future, if we end up a bad person. As much as possible, let’s save them from that regret and be the person we think they want us to grow into. It doesn’t have to be much. Just be kind and genuinely good to others. Oh, and take care of yourself! Don’t just ride a motorcycle and die. Or do drugs and die. Be good to yourself too.

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Daddy, don’t ever think that I forgot your sacrifices and your love. I always strive to become a good person. I know in a world filled with my selfies and trivial activities it’s difficult to believe. But I am praying for more guidance and wisdom that I truly walk the path of goodness and success. I am still a very dependent person and right now I’m taking it as a bad thing… But I will always love you. I am not a perfect daughter but God’s love and blessings for us are perfect and right now that’s what matters.

Happy fathers’ day!

 

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