#Personal: Talking About My Family

Happy July 2nd!

I’m back on writing again after a long hiatus. It’s time to update this blog more often than I should and I mean it. I should really do something about my writing skills. Today, I will talk about something personal. It’s about stuff that happened a few months ago.

 

It all started two weeks before I got married. I invited one of my aunts on my father’s side to be one of my primary sponsors. I was dead set on choosing her because I would’ve never had the opportunity to work in Globe if it wasn’t for her.

We were supposed to meet on a Saturday, but she told us that we should meet on Sunday instead. It was Mother’s day when we visited them at Antipolo. I know that I will meet most of my aunts and uncles but I didn’t expect all of them to make it because from personal experiences,  not everybody can make it due to other reasons. However. they proved me wrong when everybody was there, even my dad.

I was ecstatic, surprised and excited to see him. It has been a long time since I’ve heard of him and I remember sending him some e-mails about how I feel and about how I wanted to get to know him more. We didn’t become close right away but there was a certain familiarity and assurance when we interacted. I didn’t know if I should feel shy or make the most of it. Deep inside, I know that it won’t last that long. It will take months or years again to see him and be with him, and before I know it… it’s time to go home.

I didn’t want to regret that moment. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get to know him better and be with him. I would like to have have an idea about who he is and what it is like to be with him and probably, save some memories of us together while I still can.

It was nice hanging out with him and having a heart-to-heart conversation with him. I’m quite glad that I’m already an adult when we reached this point, because I have forgiven him already and what matters to me most is that I still got the chance to learn more about him and have my own memories about him.

For years, I’ve only known him based on what my mother told me. Her perspective somehow honed the person I regarded as my biological father. Not knowing the facts and his real personality or characteristics, I was left with the idea of him. And like the others, I was hungry for more information. I wanted to know this person and validate the persona behind her perspective. It was as if, my mother was a writer or a storyteller, and she was narrating one of her antihero in her story. But, he’s real. And I wanted to know more and be a part of that story. I no longer want to be a listener or an audience. I want to be a part of that story too.

 

And so when I met him, I asked him to attend my wedding. I asked him because he missed so much. He missed most of my life and most of how I became to be. I asked him to make up for the lost time and own it. I needed him to be there. I gathered all my courage to ask him that because I may not have the opportunity to do it again. If he will, he would be doing that for me and not for the others. It would just mean that he wants to be a part of my life even just for a day or for just a few hours. It matters to me. It means everything to me. And I’m glad he did.

My relatives on his side, never failed to surprise me. Amidst, not being part of the entourage, they willingly committed to attend my wedding. Regardless if they are part of the entourage or not. Unconditionally, they supported me without the need to beg them to attend. It was more than enough. I couldn’t have asked for more. My only regret was, if I had only known, I would have chosen most of them to be a part of my wedding. However, it’s all done now and all I can do is to make sure that they become a part of my life now.

 

I was wrong to think that the people I grew up with and treasured, were the only ones I need to be with on my special day. It was late when I realized, I needed all of them to be there. It was already late when I realized that I need all of them and I am grateful to them because they spent that day with me and supported me on my new journey. It was late when I realized that I spent half of my life regretting the things I should’ve done. That I should’ve reached out to them a long time ago, that I should have told them how much I appreciated them and how grateful I am to be a part of their lives.

I was naive to believe that things won’t change. I was naive to believe that events such as the ones I grew up with are family traditions that will happen yearly. I was so convinced that those family traditions won’t get old. But… my aunts and uncles on my mother’s side are getting older. They aren’t the same people they used to be. Some of them have already passed away. Some of them are too old to have long drives. Most of my cousins have their own families. Most of my cousins are “too busy,” like me. That hanging-out was such a task and nobody’s got the time for that anymore. Even special holidays are better spent amongst their own families and that’s just too sad. So unfortunate for the younger ones, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren and in-laws, to miss out on all the fun we used to have.

That’s just one of the realities in this millennial era.

 

Moving along…

 

I didn’t think much about choosing my other relatives on my father’s side at that time because I didn’t grow up with them. I thought they don’t want to be a part of my wedding because we barely had the chance to be together. However, they proved me wrong. They were in fact, more excited than my relatives on my mother’s side.

Ino and I had decided to choose most of the entourage on my mother’s side because I’ve known them all my life and regardless of our family/clan drama, I consider all of them as my important guests on my wedding. Sadly, not all of them made it to our wedding. Some had to be replaced by other relatives (“proxy”) because it’s a working weekday and they cannot be absent from work or school, — regardless if I have informed them a year in advance or a few months in advance.

I was very stressed out at that time. I’ve exhausted everyone on my list. It’s a good thing that my relatives on my father’s side are more than willing to be a part of my wedding. They were my lifesavers. They made my wedding much more meaningful because they really attended the wedding and became a part of my special day.

I was able to have a family moment even if there’s a little awkwardness to it. Still, my not-so-perfect wedding still pushed through and it still went well.

 

Fast forward to a few weeks or a month after that where Ino and I were invited to my cousin’s debut. I was requested to sing on her birthday and I gladly obliged.

My mother already had a hunch that we will meet my other siblings.

It’s a well-known family history. I am one of the poster child for UNICEF. My mother and father separated when I was a baby. I was adopted by my mother’s sister and her husband. They adopted me and raised me. They also took care of my mom and we lived there for as long as I can remember. They also adopted my cousin a few years before they adopted me.

My sister from my mother was born after five years. When I was around 10 years old or older, I’ve learned that my father also had 2 other children from another woman. A few years ago, I heard he had another child from another woman. Then, when I invited him on my wedding he told me he has another son.

Boy, that was a crazy narration of my family tree. I don’t regret any of it though. It was their personal choices and decisions, one that I don’t have any control of. It happened as I was growing up and it’s part of who I have become.

 

Perhaps, you are wondering why I am bringing this up.

Last night was my cousin’s debut and for the first time, I met my brothers. Growing up, I know that my other siblings exist, but it was just an idea for me. I’ve never thought that I would really meet them. I thought that it wouldn’t happen. I never imagined that I would. Not until I did.

I grew up with my sister in the same house. I grew up having issues with her because I couldn’t accept the fact that my mother fell in love with someone else. I fought with her when we were young because I hated the fact that she exists, and she has to live with me everyday. It was just later when she had her own child, that I realized it was not her fault that she existed. It was not her fault that she had to grew up with me. It was not her fault to be a part of my family. She happens to exist because my parents made decisions that I don’t have any control of.

I grew up with her and experienced what it was like to have a sibling. There are times when I would toy about the idea of my other siblings living with me. The idea of having a complete family was surreal. It was unimaginable and unrealistic. It was crazy. For I know that these siblings that I have are not only theirs. And my greatest fear was to have a broken family again and meet the same fate, — to have different children from different partners or to be left by my husband for other mistresses.

 

Then, I had to go back to reality and attend my cousin’s debut along with my husband and my mom. I met the youngest of my father’s child and he was cute and very smart. I didn’t know how to feel. I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know how to address him or how to interact with him. It was more than the feeling of being stunned. It was more than a feeling of “I know what this is. I already have a sister from my own mother, I’m used to this.” It was never that simple.

I know they exists. I know they are real but seeing them and being able to be with them was a different story. They are after all, my father’s offsprings. I’m dying to know them. I wanted to talk to them and tell them, “Hey! I’m your big sister. I want to know you more. I want to be a part of your life.” But I can’t. I was too weak to do that. I was just happy to see my father and be able to call him papa at that time

Last night, I realized that I was stopping myself from that realization. I do not want the reality to sink in and I was stopping myself from understanding that these boys are my brothers. I already have a sister. We don’t get along most of the time. We don’t understand each other because I hated her when I was young. I didn’t give her a chance because I was angry. We didn’t have a good relationship. And it freaked me out, when I realized that I’m glad I never had the chance to live with my other siblings.

 

Perhaps, it’s the right time to meet them. I’m already 28 and one of my younger brothers is already on his 20s. I could understand the awkwardness and tension. I understand that we are uncomfortable to talk and face reality. I wouldn’t really know what to say.

My initial reaction was, “I thought we’re gonna attend a debut, not a family reunion.” Because I didn’t really think that I’m gonna meet them anytime soon. I was curious about how they look. I was curious if they look like me or my dad. They say I look like my dad and I can see how I resemble my aunts. And seeing them, made me think that yeah… they are my father’s sons.

I’m just saying that it was unplanned and I was caught off guard. I’m glad to meet them and I wish we can have a chance to talk again next time. I would like to meet them and get to know them just like my father.

It was shocking and surprising but it was what made that night memorable for me.

 

I also realized something while I was writing this.

I was wrong to blame my sister for being born and for being raised in the same house. I regret hurting her physically, emotionally, and psychologically. I regret blaming her for whatever it is that happened to me. I am sorry for hurting her and for making her feel unwelcome.

I also realized that no matter how wrong my parents’ decisions are, I didn’t have to take it to the others and be angry with them or hate them. I realized that they didn’t want any of it and they exists because they are the results of a choice. They are good or bad decisions that constitutes not only my parents lives but also my life.

If for anything, I would like to be with them and spend time with them. I hope this is not the last and I hope that there will be more chances in the future.

 

P.S

I do not hate my parents anymore. I do not want to blame them anymore for their decisions. I just realized that blaming them wouldn’t change anything. They made decisions for a reason. They may have been happy in the process that’s why they stick up for it and I respect that. In time, perhaps I’ll heal and understand why they did what they did. Hopefully, I won’t need to be separated from my husband to find my own happiness.

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