Sunday, May 5, 2013

You Can't Pick Your Family Members

Today's Blog Everyday In May prompt is Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don't have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member. 

I haven't met anyone through blogging that I already know enough to write about yet so I decided that I'll right about someone in my family. Mother's day is coming up but hmm....I don't want my dad to be jealous. And I can't just pick one of my siblings either. So then it came to me that I should write about somebody outside my immediate family.

Growing up in the Philippines, it's very common to live with your extended family. I lived in my grandparent's house my whole life before I moved here and crowded is an understatement. I only say that now that I know different  but at the time it was very normal to me. It wasn't a small house but we averaged about 9-10 people living there at a time. So yes, it was busy!  Maybe that explains why my voice is so loud. I had to speak over so many people! Haha

But anyway, let me tell you about one of the most underrated people in my family. Let me tell you about my Tito Paul. (Tito is Filipino for uncle.)

Tito Paul is one of my dad's brothers. He's funny, smart, charming, generous and very, very loving. Now, I can describe him to you and tell you all about the joys of having him in my family but I don't think I showed him much appreciation when I was growing up. Sure, I loved him and respected him. I knew he was my uncle who didn't have his own family and so he had all these money to buy cool things. He had a really cool, grown up room. He had a laser disc player (remember those?) before anybody else I knew had it and everybody had vhs; he had the biggest mirror that I have ever seen in my life; he always had cool movies and music in his room and he even had a/c in there! (Believe me, at that time, having a/c in your room was the bomb.) So yeah, he was superduper cool grown up.

More than being the person with the nicest room in the house though, I knew him as this disciplinarian who yelled at us with the biggest, loudest, deepest voice in the world. I've also witnessed him having heated arguments with my dad so I really didn't like him that much.  I didn't really know what they were fighting about but as a kid, anybody who yells at you and the people you love is NOT cool in your book.

As a preteen/ teenager, he was also my number 1 household nemesis. My dad was working in the states during my teenage years so it was him who kind of stood as a father figure and boy was he strict! He made sure my siblings and I ate our vegetables, cleaned our rooms, picked up after ourselves and that I was home in a reasonable hour. I spent a LOT of time with my church youth group and I admit, a lot of times, I was out so much later than I should be. In my defense, I wasn't doing anything crazy. I wasn't a crazy kid. I wasn't partying or anything like that. My youth group really did have meetings that ran late and I really did like hanging out at friends' houses than staying in my own. I remember one night, my mom was also out of the country in Thailand and I came home late and he freakin' kicked me out of the house! It was a big commotion. I don't remember many details but I do remember spending a lot of time on long distance phone calls from both my parents. I was so mad at him and I was sure that when I grew up, I would move my family and I away from him and then I can stay out as long as I want! (Oh, childhood dreams, how selfish and simple art thou.)

Fast forward to today, though, it's different. I think about him and I'd still remember some of the times he scolded me but then I'd remember all the times he would wake up early so he can drive me and my siblings to school or when he would drive us and my mom to church so we didn't have to walk even though it wasn't too far. I'd remember all the delicious food he'd make for us. He would even make special homemade pizzas for snack! I would also remember how much he took care of us and how everything he had in his cool room, he let me and my siblings use. He would let 4 stinky, greasy kids go and hang out in his room and watch in his cool tv (after washing our hands and our feet, of course). And with his cool, grown up movies, he would have movies for us too. 

And now that I think about it, he wasn't being unreasonable. He scolded us because he wanted us to eat our vegetables....because we'd be sick and unhealthy otherwise. He scolded us to clean our rooms....because we'd probably drown and get hurt in all that mess. Our room was a junkyard. And he scolded me because he wanted me home in a reasonable hour.... because who knows what would've happened to me? 11pm WAS a bad time for a 13yr old to be walking around the streets. Now that I'm older, I can see that all he really did was look out for us. He was just really doing what any parent would do. He was there for us. He scolded and yelled at us because he loves us.

Now that we're all grown, our relationship has changed. We don't live together anymore but he's there for us now more than ever. There's no more screaming and yelling now. Now, there's him bring us food that he cooked or if he discovers something that he really likes, he'd come and bring us some. Now, there's him inviting us to go to different places and there's him willing to lend us his car when we need it or even picking my mom or one of my siblings up from work if our schedules get too crazy. Now, there's him making sure that we have what we need and that I know the latest gossip about people we know in common. Now, there's only conversations and fun. I'm pretty sure our mess still drives him crazy but I guess now he knows he's done his part to make sure we know what we're supposed to be doing. 

I'm sure he doesn't know that I still have this letter he wrote me when I was 16 and going on a retreat for school but I'm gonna share it here anyways.

**Luke and Antioch were my church groups.** 
**If you don't understand Filipino, you probably won't understand 
a couple of words but you'll get the gist.**

I hold this letter very dear to me. It really is true how your parents say that what they do when you're younger don't make sense to you at that time but you'll appreciate it when you grow up. It's odd how this person I dreamed of running away from before now has a special room in the dream house I have for my family, how this person who was so scary to me growing up is one of the kindest people I know and I would give all I have for.

So yeah, you can't pick your family members but I'm sure as hell glad I got  who I got for mine. 


  1. What a nice post - and I would treasure that letter, too :)

  2. All's well that ends well. Very moving.