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Monday, November 26, 2007

Pamanhikan

Yesterday, M. came over to our home with his mom. The purpose of his visit was for him to ask my parents’ permission to marry my sister. This is what is known in the Filipino culture as “pamanhikan” (although M., being Caucasian, probably did not know this). It started off a little awkward but turned into a really special and significant event. M. was clearly very nervous but his heartfelt sincerity came through. He was so serious and earnest but later on was practically beaming when my parents consented. I was on the edge of my seat since I knew it was a bittersweet event. Of course, we are thrilled since M. is a great guy and has proven his genuine feelings and commitment towards my sister. Plus the fact that my sister is happy (I mean really happy) and this is a wonderful time for her. But on the other hand, I can not begin to imagine how torn up my parents must be. I know they are honestly happy for M. and my sister and comforted that M.’s family has expressed such a warm welcome and has extended staunch promises to take care of my sister. But as parents, I know they are also sad to be “losing a daughter” and quite worried that everything will turn out okay. I know the hardest thing for them is having my sister leave home to come stay here and experience a totally different way of life.

But my folks have proven once again that they have our best interests at heart. So even if they must have heavy hearts, they have put aside their personal feelings and are totally supportive and encouraging. My dad has optimistically said that he doesn’t look at this time as one where he is losing a daughter but instead is happy to be gaining a son. While my mom has been practical about the whole matter while saying that there is a reason for everything and that they only want my sister to be happy in the end. I tried to lighten the mood and reassure my folks that since my sister will be living here, I will do my best to make sure I look out for her and be there for her if and when she needs me. Since we are naturally close, I know my sister and I will be there for each other. But my reassurance is also because I feel some pangs of guilt – since for starters I was the first to leave home (and now it seems most of my siblings are following in my footsteps).

I guess it is a natural course in life that kids eventually leave home. I know that parents look forward to this day but at the same time also wish this day would never come. I know that they must be happy yet worried, thrilled but anxious, hopeful and scared. And for us kids too, the mixed feelings are there, we are also happy and sad, excited yet nervous, and despite our adult-like bravado, we also find ourselves wishing we could stay with mom and dad forever. The only consolation I can think of is that in our case, my parents have done exceptional jobs at raising us and that their love, guidance, support and encouragement has prepared us to move on and live our lives for ourselves. I think that at the end of the day, the true test of parenthood is letting your kids go, confidently knowing that you have done all you can and now you have to trust them to go their own way.

I am so, so happy for M. and my sister, knowing that they have each other. It’s not always easy to find the right person to spend the rest of your life with and even when you do, every relationship still faces ups and downs. In all honestly, it may be a little bit tougher for us, since we grew up with such high standards of marriage, after all we have our parents’ almost-perfect relationship to look up to. But on the bright side, having my folks show us that a contented and blissful marriage is one filled with compromise, understanding and commitment, means we have something to guide us along the way. I wish my sister and M. that same kind of contentment and bliss.

7 comments:

Jeff said...

Hi Jo, been quite busy with work the past few weeks so haven't had the chance to visit.

So it's finally happened! Congratulations to Jenny! Best wishes to her and her fiance. I guess I will be seeing more of her when I go for my visits.

Nice to know that your parents are there with you again. Enjoy!

jol said...

At this stage in my life, the happiness of my children is the most important thing for me. I will try to give every support possible to ensure their happiness but ultimately, it is they who will determine their lives.

Junarakasa said...

Hey Jeff. Thanks - will relay your best wishes to Atsi when she arrives. Hope things are well at work.

Thanks, dad, your support means the world to us :)

Anonymous said...

Well said dets!:)Yes, I agree our parents are the most supportive, most caring, and loving parents in the world... They truly want the best for us in every situation!:)

Well, I guess I'll be seeign you soon!:) Hang in there with work and everything...:)

Anonymous said...

By the way, I am anonymous! haha:) Forgot to put my name!:) Sorry dets!

joyeee said...

Okay- this is the last time I am publishing this...one last try..but just incase, Anonymous is me!!!- you sister: Joy!:)

Leslie Ty said...

Hi Jo!!!! =)

i know you are super busy with your folks there...been wondering why you haven't answered my email ...now i understand =) soooo happy for atchie!!!! =)

when i was reading your blog i thought it was joy! i wanted to fall off my seat! (naunahan na nga ako ni kim tapos si joy din =) ) hehehe...

i'm also happy for you coz Atchie will be there with you...and another reason for your parents to visit LA more often =)