IN FAIRNESS to the discussion, I’ve been more of an absentee parent than I’d care to admit. If not for heroic grandparents, dutiful uncles and enlightened in-laws, Panganay, Ganda and Bunso would certainly have been worse off for sure.
I’m not casting my lot to the political-correctness (PC) wolves, nor do I ask for the mercy of the court, but if one of these days you bump into any of these three kids and happen to ask how I did as a dad, well don’t say I didn’t warn you. But I digress.
Owing to extreme good fortune (the end of which I can’t foresee) and the natural gifts of my kids, they have done remarkably well the last few years, in spite of me rather than because.
So well in fact that against common wisdom, barely three months off the boat and both Ganda and Bunso are now the newest permanent residents of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Where it used to take the better part of a year till recently, at least six months in Panganay’s case, it has taken roughly half of that for his siblings, surely a sign of progress for all migrants everywhere. Of course, it helps that their mom’s a PR, that their bro’s already past the gate and to a small extent that their dad’s a guest worker, but on the whole, that it’s been relatively easy for them to reach their immigration goal has been nothing short of amazing.
In fact daughter and son though depressed had already steeled themselves for an idle six months of killing time in libraries, volunteer work and helping grannies, orphanages, homeless shelters and anyone else who’d accept their offer/s with odds and ends, bits and pieces and things that needed little more than the usual attention. No chore would be too mundane for the intention, no task too tedious for the day. For they understood that in their worthy wait to be legal residents of the realm, days would stretch into weeks, weeks into months and months into seasons. Only an eye trained towards the destination would make the agony of waiting a bearable one.
But all this was now moot, under the bridge, a figment of fond memory, as their case officer had very recently informed them that upon payment of their respective migrant levies, they would become recognized as NZ permanent residents; application and processing times but a formality. This would almost immediately but not straightforwardly open doors like benefits, student loans and most importantly the legal capacity to perform and be recompensed for work.
The projected forced idleness of weeks and weeks was now a thing of the past. Their self-conceived image of indigence and indolence was thoroughly extinguished in inspired industry. An unexpected turn of events brought a 180 degree turn from aimless wanderings into a newfound way to affirm self-worth.
And by the way, how did this leave little old me, their cheerleader dad? All this time I had been constantly reassuring them that their wait was not deathly boring, that there were many worthwhile things to do, and that their dad and Tita H were always there for movies, walks in the park, trips to museums and even runs around the block.
But as is the way of the world, as soon as the Pandora’s box of options and opportunity is opened to the babe in the woods, there is no turning back. Every choice leads to another in an infinite maze of decision and adventure, and youth is on their side. Really, as a parent who finds himself/herself no longer the be-all and end-all of their children’s universe, one can only stand side and avoid being in the way.
Congrats Ganda and Bunso. You deserve every happiness that comes your way, and every success you strive for.
- inhabiting a house that waits in slumber (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Help for Empty Nest Syndrome (everydayhealth.com)
- “I loved you the day we met, to this day still…” (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- The High Cost of Beijing’s Empty Bird’s Nest (theatlanticcities.com)
- Land of the Long White Cloud, Part II – Auckland, New Zealand (travelpod.com)
- NZ randomly, thru unjaundiced unbiased Pinoy eyes (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- from dusk till dawn : this pinoy’s heretofore unexamined sleep habits (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- happy birthday Bunso ! (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- a Pinoy appreciates Dad on father’s day (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- a day in the life of a Pinoy migrant (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)