Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Migration - Its Resentment and Hope
My wife sent me an e-mail with pictures of my kids last Fathers’ Day. I was surprised to see the picture of my eldest son; a full-grown teenager from the “kid-image” I used to know of him. I almost couldn’t recognize him while riding in a row boat for his looks totally surprised me. The once kid I used to play on is now a tall and good-looking young man at 16. I smiled while I reminisced the moment I had him in my arms back then as a baby.
My eldest daughter’s “metamorphosis” comes as a surprise too. The grade-schooler I used to fetch from school had grown up into a fine young lady. My youngest back then as a toddler who can’t speak comprehensible words but now talks a lot like a parrot. My other daughter, the second to the youngest had her own stage of transformation too; losing her two front teeth.
As common to all parents working abroad, there’s always an unmistakable sense of loss often surfacing as resentment for having been missed how they’re own children grow up. I grope for words to describe the passing of an era which part of my life have been sacrificed. From the moment they were born, I have looked at my children with a wish that I could see them grow into fine human beings every step of the way. I have perhaps exulted in their triumphs, and bled in their pain, more profusely than in my own. I think of them when I visit a nice place, or eat an unusually fine meal. I worry for their safety, and I cannot imagine not being able to recognize them in their mature years. In the age of absentee parenting, the communication of love has taken the form of a steady stream of gift-giving. This however cannot compensate for the erosion of intimacy. How easy to measure the benefits from overseas work but remain doubtful if one can ever quantify what a migrating parent has given up in terms of love or what it is doing to recover it.
But amidst all these adversities, procrastination could not lead one’s hopes and dreams to the place where they desire them. While it is true that lost intimacy can never be recovered but the desire to assure a better future for the family is what keeps the fire burning in the hearts of all absentee parents like me. Life must go on even at times when life is in the lowest of all lows. Don’t ever give up. Constant reassurance to the loved ones left home could somehow compensate the eroded intimacy brought by toiling away from home.
Whatever happens, don’t ever give up your hopes and dreams for your family and yourself for the future comes from what you will think and do today.