What I Know For Sure....About My Family

Monday, August 15, 2011
I am pretty sure my husband and my kids will forgive me this time if I don't talk about them when I broach the subject of family. I think they'll be equally glad that now when I talk about family, I actually have more members to talk about then just the 3 of them.

Blood is thicker than water. Or so the saying goes. Somehow I never quite truly believed that.

When I was younger, I used to have this "me against the whole world" sentiment. I came from a broken family and my parents, who both became overseas workers, left me in the care of relatives during my teen years. These were rebellious years although I did not really feel much of a rebel that time. In fact, like I said, it was "me against the whole world". Suffice it to say that my stay and relationship with my relatives were not much to write home about. Be it the younger or the older generation of my relatives, my relationship with them was all the same.

I got my chance when I came to South Africa in 1992. Once I left the Philippines, I did not have any kind of relationship with my relatives. At all. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Totally non-existent.

When I first went back in 1996 and again in 1997, the relationship (if any) looked a little repaired and amicable but still had a few scars left, remnants of the old days when I felt that they were all against me. And so I was cautious and guarded. I still felt the funny feeling and so I think there was always this stigma of going back to the Philippines and seeing them. I stayed away for a very long time.

I finally went back to the Philippines 4 weeks ago, after 14 long years. I had a shortlived visit of about 6 days to attend and sort out some personal issues. I was a little tense and pensive before I arrived.

But somehow, this time was different. I have never felt more a part and accepted by my relatives than I did in the 6 days I had with them. Maybe it was the distance, the perceptions, the ideas, the age or maybe it was just time that healed all things past. I actually enjoyed seeing my uncles and aunts and my cousins again. I spent time with them and it was simple and uncomplicated.

And so, with this experience, it has taught me:

1. Blood is thicker than water (I say it with more conviction now)
2. Family is family no matter really what you think of them
3. The past is never always a true reflection of what happened (especially in my mind)
4. Time heals all wounds
5. And age probably has something to do with it as acceptance with everything settles in

This is what I know for sure about my family. And I am glad I know this now.

1 caring thoughts:

  1. Chris said...:

    mj, you came back! sayang, we didnt get to meet up :( i would love to have met up with you sana...

    anyway, i was at my parent's place earlier today and i saw all the letters you had written me many many years ago... i hope it is not too late to let you know that i appreciate them so much! :)