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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Over the Rainbow

Before Thanksgiving last year, I received a phone call from my father. He shared the news with me that his family's petition was in process and they will soon be joining him here in the States. My first reaction was pure happiness and I expressed it by telling him, "Good for you, dad. It's about time. They will have better opportunities here in the US than in the Philippines." However, after hearing his efforts on how he has been finding ways to afford all the expense and hard work for his family, I noticed a shift in my feelings sort of suddenly. I was still happy for him, but for a second there I thought I was talking to a different person completely unrelated to me. "What a wonderful father you are," I almost blurted out. Then I reminded myself he is our father, too. And it still hurts knowing that we are not the family he talks about so fondly. We have not been for over three decades. I cannot even begin to imagine not being in my son's and daughter's lives. So, I don't understand how some parents can just leave. I suppose it was less difficult for my father to walk away because he knew our mom would fight him to the death for sole custody. Still, it would have been comforting to know that he fought a little to be in our lives. My sisters and I will never be able to understand how our parents' marriage ended. We can speculate and throw in a few judgments, (and we have) but in the end... no one really knows why or how some relationships work and some don't. I guess the children who seem to be just innocent bystanders are the true victims of divorce. I know this because at forty-five years old, after that phone conversation with my father I found myself bereaved all over again.  

When I was very young, I used to think that it would have probably been easier for me to accept it if my father had died instead of "just left". Other people can argue that not everyone are cut-out to be parents, right? But my father left us and created another family, one that he's been so devoted to for over twenty five years. Perhaps he was just not cut-out to be our dad. And that's the part I still struggle with. For many years, each time I'd think about his absence, I'd shrug it off and whisper to myself, "Walk it-off, Melinda. Move on." And I have. I am now a middle-aged mom with a career, a wife, a paper crafter, a blogger, a friend and so on. However, I must live with the fact that I am still a daughter who more than likely will have unanswered questions and wounds that will not completely heal until I leave this earth. Sometimes, I want to call him and ask how he managed without us all these years. Does he think of us at all? Did he ever wonder how we coped? I get it that he probably assumed he's missed the boat on being a part of our lives. But he has not made any effort to be in my children's lives either. I hoped so badly he'd make it right on that one. Before he came to United States, I used to imagine he'd be an awesome grandfather to my children and that would more than compensate all of his shortcomings. Didn't happen. I still catch myself longing for him though, or perhaps, I just long for a dad. I read somewhere a long time ago that every little girl is a daddy's little girl. Well, us three girls are our mom's little girls and that woman is generous to a fault, but does not share when it comes to her daughters.

During this process, my father and I exchanged a few phone calls and multiple text messages about his challenges of finding a new place, affidavit of support and other financial expense. We both managed to dance around the actual issue the whole time. He did not directly ask me for assistance and I intentionally did not offer anything. Although, at one time I thought that was so insensitive of him to ask for my help without considering how it would make me feel. He mentioned about his co-workers pitching in to help as if he was trying to make me feel guilty for not getting involved. I know I could have helped, but I figured that I brought him over ten years ago because after all, he's still my father. That was on me and I did that for my own peace. So, bringing his family over should be entirely on him. 

As I am typing this post, my father's family have arrived in Southern California a couple of days ago. He sent me a text message with their new address. I am really proud of him that he worked hard to bring them over. That's how it should be. I look back now thinking that we are all here because thirty years or so ago, he left my mom for another woman. Heartbroken and devastated, my mom took a chance and came to United States in search of a new beginning. She met my step-dad and together, they brought me and my two younger sisters over. I find it too ironic that in the end, my father and his family have been reunited here in United States because of my mom and her unwavering courage. Isn't it kind of funny how life sometimes turn out? I know that it's been many, many years ago and truly, we have all moved on and our lives turned out good. But I do not ever want to forget that my mom sacrificed so much so we'd all be where we are right now. I know it isn't Mother's Day yet, but I just want to thank my mom for being the kindhearted human being that she is, because when I told her yesterday about my father's good news, she simply replied, "I am happy for them. Really, I am."    

I apologize that this post got pretty lengthy. I couldn't help myself sometimes. Anyway, I thought this card is very appropriate for today's post and also for St. Patrick's Day.




Other ideas to use the Over the Rainbow stamp set from the current annual catalog
Well, that is all for now. Thank you for stopping by. Below are the products used to create the card above. 


1 comments:

  1. Love the cards, beautifully crafted as always.

    I am a bad person because I resent that your dad is benefitting from something he doesn't deserve…your love and a life for him and his family in the greatest country in the world. My advice to you if I may be so frank is to move on. Love is wonderful, but you can't continue to hurt yourself on this one. It simply has to end because it's not sustainable nor is it appreciated. Keep the fond memories however few but no longer expect nor try to figure out what happened. You are kind and wonderful and amazing. He doesn't deserve you or all these feelings. Channel them on something good like the many memories and successes in your life that didn't include him, because his departure wasn't your loss…it was definitely his. Your life turned out great without him, but he needed you for his to be better, and now his family's life too. You have done plenty and it's enough. It's time to let go. It's okay to let go…be free.

    Your mom is pretty wonderful too. And smart. You may not figure out what really happened to your parents, but it isn't really that important anymore when you think of it. It was between the two of them. They were young. They were just people too, probably trying to figure things out about them and about who they were. Your mom was always on track though when it comes to you and your sisters. Love her and then love her some more.

    Peace and love.

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