Saturday, February 12, 2011
Of love, lost and moving on
During the early 1950s, no one would have thought that there would come a time when the internet would make meeting people a breeze. For many young Chinese couples, those were the days where finding a life-time partner would require the manual internet - a matchmaker. That was the tradition. And that was how my parents met.
After a few months of courtship, their parents thought it was time to tie the knot. Both were still in college when they married.
Unlike many children today who marry young and then depend on their parents for their daily sustenance, my father's family insisted that once he finished college he would have to be independent.
I came 1 1/2 years after they were married. My sister followed another 1 1/2 years later.
We were not rich. My father had to find odd jobs to make ends meet. My mother had to be resourceful to augment the meager income he was making. We grew up shuttling from place to place - living with my grandparents then moving to a warehouse then back to my grandparents home then to a drafty apartment then back to my grandparents home then an apartment in Makati then finally finding home to where we are today.
I grew up remembering both the good and bad times we shared as a family.
There were days when I could feel the tension at home because dad had a bad day at work or was up to his neck in debt. Or the days when my mom would have to dig into her piggy bank for our allowance or hock her jewelry so that we had money for tuition fee, which would bring a tear to her eyes. Or the days when we had to make do with an electric fan because we had no airconditioner and when the electric fan wasn't working my mom and dad were up the whole night manually fanning both me and my sister. As a family we had our share of arguments as well.
But in between those tough times, I found love.
I found love in the daily tuyo and spam in "toyo and calamansi" and fried rice my mom would prepare for us for breakfast.
I found love in the lazy stroll at Roxas Boulevard after mass from Baclaran on a Sunday morning.
I found love in the weekend Sunday at some forsaken beach with my parents and sister.
I found love in the tiny matchbox cars that served as a reward for the purple and green stars and I brought home each grading period from school.
I found love in the little gifts that dad would bring home every valentine's day for my mom, even though we had very little to spare.
I found love in the thoughtfulness of every small occasion our family would share each payday.
I found love in the cramped room we huddled in to watch a TV show.
I found love in the stories my parents would tell us about how life was both kind and unkind.
I found love in the small kiosk my parents owned where Sundays would be a day we needed to be all present to cook hotdogs and sell softdrinks and ice cream at the zoo.
I found love in the struggle of my dad with his diabetes and eventually his debilitating stroke.
I found love in my mom's having to drive my dad back and forth the hospital during my training days in the US.
Even when we lost my dad over 16 years ago, I found love in many of those who came to his wake or expressed their condolences.
He was a simple man who taught me that the worth of a real man is one who had integrity, honesty, and generosity.
In his demise, we lost a man who stood by his principles on decent living, on making a marriage work in spite of the odds, on fidelity and love and family, on being a friend when you needed one most.
Today I find love in each day I live.
I find love in caring for my aging mother.
I find love in the Sunday brunch with the remaining family and my partner.
I find love in the occasions where I get to splurge a little or splurge a lot.
I find love in caring for the sick and the needy, in being a little more generous to those who have less, in not taking advantage of position and power.
I find love in a careless day at the pool, simply dozing off to a good book or to simply look back at the past and find the story of the life of my parents whose love surpassed the challenges of this worldly life.
I find love in walking the dog or caressing the cat or feeding my fish.
I will always find love in the ordinary things we do in life.
Because I learned from someone who taught me that true love weathers the challenges in making relationships work, and that it does not expect anything in return. If we only look for it deep within our hearts...we will find love.