Pre – Departure Briefing


Image by ozmafan via Flickr

[ Note : No pretensions to eloquence and wittiness here, just a basic, bare-to-the-bones sit-down (electronic lang nga) with your progeniture. Balancing the interests of full disclosure and discretion, we will again not identify the subject of this e-mail. Thank you for reading and allowing us to share. ]

Dear Pogi:

Many times I’ve tried to e-mail you, but I didn’t want to rain on your parade.

Each triumphant Facebook post you made about your Jabbawockeezlike group, it didn’t feel right to say anything negative.

 Your graduation day (nice pics btw) and baccalaureate post, which was quite a teary-eyed experience for me, I certainly didn’t want to spoil with a less-than-positive comment.

The event wasn’t about me, it was all about you.

Finally, when you broke the news online that you were leaving to join your mother overseas and all the attendant kudos, congrats and senti comments about your departure, again I held my tongue. It would be the height of unkindness to say something bad during your valedictory.

Now is as good a time as any though, to tell you what I feel.

Your relationship with your siblings has been less than ideal, and instead of trying to develop a bond with them your last few months back home, you have allowed whatever it is that came between you to fester.

Your relationships with the opposite sex have sometimes been a bit too colorful for comfort, which would not be so bad if not for the fact that you have a younger sister and a more impressionable younger brother.

Lastly, you have too often let inertia and your mother’s unwavering faith carry the day for you, and you will probably agree that it’s more by pure providence than anything else that you are on your way to a better life overseas.

     **      **      **      **      **

Barely had the keystrokes left my fingertips when I realized how ridiculous my last three sentences sounded, not just to a young person in your milieu but in light of how I lived my own late teens and 20s.

While you were hostile, I was indifferent to my brothers. If you were reckless in your love life, I was nearly insane. And if you were indolent or lethargic in all but your narrowest interests, I was clueless and regrettably ignorant of how to go about starting a decent life for myself, much less for my family.

If there is anything wrong with how you have lived your life, I mean, far be it for me to point it out, or tell you how rightly or wrongly you have lived it.

If anything, you have actually acquitted yourself in evolving from naive and arrogant teener to a relatively more analytical and tolerant twentysomething.

That you have survived your helter-skelter youth without making a major, major mistake is actually a minor feat. How I wish I could say the same for myself.

That you have mapped out a more-or-less coherent plan for the rest of your unlived life is even more promising, given that I had no inkling of what to do on a daily basis while enjoying being young and selfish at the same time.

If I have been remiss in my concern or too critical of you in the last few months, it probably has more to do with my own failings both as an person in my own right and as a parent on whom you could have derived more lessons and support, in life and in love.

Whether or not you agree with me now, I will be more than happy to accept your understanding and, in time, your forgiveness.

   **    **    **    **    **

Having said that, on to bigger things. You have so much going for you Pogi. Have you read somewhere on the Internet : if your belly is full, you’re luckier than a quarter of the world’s population; if you have money in your pocket, better off than half, and if you’ve a job (or on your way to having one), count yourself among the extremely fortunate one-fourth of the planet ?

Your lot is much better than any of those people. You’re well on your way to becoming a citizen of the First World, with all the privileges and benefits it entails. With your university education, it’s not an exaggeration to say that you have an unlimited future.

In return, all that Destiny asks of you is not such a big thing : in your own way, try to change the world. And of course, for the better and not the other way. You owe it not only to those who came before you (and who will come after ) but to yourself;  I can’t think of a more profound way to make full use of your talents.

Don’t let time, space, geography, speed bumps or any other dimension limit you. You can do this any which way you want, as long as it’s in our version of reality.

I may not have had the opportunity you had, but I had something very similar. A good education, supportive family, and a head on my shoulders. I took everything, and I mean everything for granted.

I hope you will not make the same mistake, and rely on your good looks and (so far) good luck. I don’t remember the exact words, but it’s true : Ang masipag ay madalas sinuswerte.

Finally, it might not be such a bad idea to bury the hatchet with your bro and sis. Whatever it was that started your cold war, it simply isn’t worth sustaining it. Once you leave, please bear in mind that you won’t know when you’ll see each other again. I know there’s every chance that they’ll join you and your mom, but then again, you never know what will intervene. Stranger things have been known to happen.

In time, we will probably look back on these difficult but challenging times, and laugh about it. But this is not that time. It’s time to be men, ready to take on the world.

I say this as much for myself as for you.

I love you very much and miss you always. Nawa’y kaawaan ka lagi ng Diyos.



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