It took me some time to write this piece, and do justice to this blog which was created by my son. Not that I do not have any idea on what to write, but I just can not find time to start the ball rolling. I hope then that after this first piece, I will be able to continue writing regularly.
Last night my friend read to me a text message from his wife, back in the Philippines. My friend's wife was relating how happy the birthday celebration of their daughter was. For a moment I asked myself: How many birthdays and such other occasions have I missed since I started working in a land so far away from home? I can not count them by my fingers anymore.
But missing birthdays and such other celebrations is not the only price overseas Filipinos pay in return for the better future they are able to provide to their families. For me the highest price is that of not witnessing my children grow; not being there to coach them in their math and science subjects, or to guide them through their teen years.
As I look back to the years gone, the more I realize how much valuable time I have lost; precious time which I could have shared with my family. And so I asked myself: If I have to go back in time, will I still opt to leave the Philippines, and my family, to work in a foreign land? I am very much tempted to say, 'no way'. Yet look at those young graduates who leave the Philippines everyday.
Yesterday we assisted in the registration of overseas absentee voters inside a medical housing complex. At about 5 in the afternoon, three ladies entered the registration room to ask for the forms they have to fill up. I thought one of the three is a daughter of one of the older nurses because she look so young and would easily fit the height of a high school student. When we went out of the hall, I was surprised to see this young girl filling up the registration form. So I went to the table where they are seated, and asked: 'Nurse ka ba talaga?' The young girl just looked at me with a smile, as if wanting to say, 'Naligaw lang po.'
My youngest daughter will in a few months time be a nurse, too. Will I tell her not to follow in my footsteps and stay home?