It's 4:30 in the morning and I couldn't make myself go back to sleep. The only sound I hear is the ticking of the wall clock and the occasional roar of a car that passes by outside. I decided to sleep on the couch again because it's a lot smaller compared to the big space I have in my bed. It's just that I feel more alone & lonely whenever I sleep in bed with just the pillows on both sides. You see, we're used to co-sleeping with the kids for 4 years now and I honestly miss having all of them in bed with me. I miss the feel of their little fingers on my ear (they both hold my ear before they go to sleep) and miss the feel of little hands running through my hair. I miss having to touch Ryan's feet with mine and I hate to admit it, but I do miss my husband's snoring! My room right now is just too empty, too quiet.
I understand why parents sometimes decide to leave their children behind to seek for greener pastures. This is usually the case for families in the Philippines. Most of us grew up in a family where either one or both parents work abroad. I don't blame those who make this kind of decision at some point in this life because in a worldly sense of view, my country really couldn't offer what 1st world countries can. Jobs with bigger salaries, better benefits, wonderful 401K's and the like. It's a legitimate reason to feel helpless back home when you have a family to raise and you don't have any savings in the bank. That's why most people from my country long to work abroad, no matter how big the sacrifice is, just so we can live the better life... and of course, prepare for our children's future.
I grew up with my grandparents most of my elementary years. My dad worked in Indonesia for 11 years to make sure that his family has a better life than what he can offer had he decided to not work abroad. I understand the very need of my dad to have my mom with him because it is really tough to not have your spouse with you if you're working in a foreign land. So I was left with my grandma mostly, since my grandfather died when I was 9 or 10. I did okay with school I should say and I had built friendships without any problems. The only thing I didn't have at that time were pictures of almost every school program with my parents beside me. I remember a girl scout ceremony we had where I received some award of some kind but had to "borrow" my classmate's mom to pin the award for me. I danced and played roles in school programs and consistently hosted most of them as an "emcee". I experienced a lot of growth in school and was achieving goals, but I have to admit there was just something missing. I have to honestly admit it's never the same as having to experience all this with parents around. I know my parents were so proud of me back then, but if there was one thing I would rather have, it's the experience of physically looking at my parent's faces while I walked upstage to receive an award. My parents know that I'm grateful of the sacrifices they have made in order for me to attend a private school and for me to live in a secure home we call our own. I salute my father's strength through these 11 years and his will to stand up to provide for his family. I love them, no matter what. Yet I could not really ignore that fact that I grew up feeling lost and not really having someone I could run to to share all of my experiences with. Someone I look up to and someone I can hug anytime I want. I had my grandma, yes, but it was different. My grandma did take good care of me too but there's just no replacing having to hug my mom & dad every time they're home for a vacation.
I've always told myself over and over in the past that when I will have kids of my own I will not let them experience the void I have experienced having to grow up without my parents with me. But looking at my life right now, I could only agree to those who say "history repeats itself." You sometimes just come to a point in your life where you're asked to decide to either do what you want or do what you need to. Now I'm missing a lot in my children's lives. I know my husband might say I wasn't a better mom to them, anyway, while I was with them since I had moments when I just take them for granted. I honestly might have, but still, I would want to be there with them to experience whatever it is they're going through.
It was torture to endure the fact that I wasn't there when my son had his first day in school. It wasn't easy knowing my little girl has started singing already and I wasn't the one who taught her how. I miss reading bible stories to them before going to sleep. I miss bear hugs and butterfly kisses. I miss the screams and the cries. I miss giggles and smiles. I miss little fingers and toes... oh, my list just goes on and on. I'm just praying that someday my children will find their strength in God and that they will not forget how much I love them! It's not easy... it'll never be for me. If I could make my choice, I could sacrifice not living the abundant life as long as we're together. It wouldn't matter if it'll take longer to save up money and longer to pay out all debts as long as my family's with me.
The biggest thing I regret the most being away from my family is not having to go to church with them. I feel so responsible for the spiritual growth of my children and I regret not being able to teach them bible verses and songs for Jesus! I hate the feeling of not being able to pray with them and teach them to pray at all times in every situation. And if there is one thing that I honestly feel so terrible about, it is not being able to live and teach my children the real trust in God alone. How will I teach them to trust God in everything when I, myself, decided to sacrifice my time with them to find work here in the states to save up for their "future". How can I explain to them that God is our Jehovah Jireh and that we christians must learn to live by faith if all they see in me was working hard for the money. How am I going to let them see that God is good all the time and that we should not worry about tomorrow because He knows our needs, if all they could see in me is the frantic striving for stability in this life.
People will never understand this part of me... and I don't blame them because even my own family doesn't understand this part of me. I just hope and pray that one day we will live the biblical way of life and not be so engrossed about preparing for the future. I wish someday we would all really live to prioritize the more important things in this life. I pray that someday we would teach our kids that it's really okay to not have a big screen TV in the living room, or not have all the toys that they wanted to buy, or not have high-end cellphones and gadgets, or not have new stuff all the time. I hope someday we'd teach our children that it is okay to live by faith and that God is good and He will provide for what we really, really need in life.
For now, though, the question I have in my mind is when will we ever stop all our striving and let God be God in our lives? I wish I knew the answer... I wish I knew.