Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mother, daughter, strangers

In just about five minutes and a 50-meter walk, I was again struck by how sad life can be for a migrant worker.

I walked home from our office with T and I asked her why she and her daughter didn't go to the movies. A couple of hours ago, V even invited us to tag along but due to some work I had to finish, I had to beg off.

Off-handedly T said that the movie starts at midnight and she decided to go back to the office instead. When I asked where V was, she said that she went straight home.

I jokingly said, "lagot ka, tampo na anak mo." Apparently, it hit a nerve.

You see, T has been a migrant worker for almost 13 years. She left the Philippines when V was only about eight. They only get to see each other every time T comes home for two weeks or she sends for her daughter here for vacation.

My friend admitted that she just doesn't know how to be with her daughter - with only the two of them - anymore.

She loves her daughter, that I am sure of. V also loves her mother, that I am also sure of.

But as with any other relationship separated by distance, it is bound to change through time and sometimes for the worse.

Some will say that the level of technology right now is so advanced that communication is just a phone call or a YM away. While it is true enough that migrant workers of the 70's or 80's had it harder with only snail mail and voice tapes to get by, nothing still beats being together to maintain that harmony in a dynamic relationship where people develop and change.

Still others will say that it is not the amount of time spent together that is important but rather its quality. True as well but quantity and quality have a dialectical relationship that to say one is more important does not diminish the importance of the other. They are two sides of a coin that are held in a precarious balance.

Still others may assert that if they love each other, nothing should have changed. On this point, I rest my case and just read Mills and Boons.

Now T has got to know her daughter all over again. Soon V will be going back to the Philippines.

It only took five minutes for T and I to cover the 50-meter distance from our office to our flat where her daughter was.

But the time of separation and the distance between that migration has forced on them is much longer and considerably wider.

Oh it's so just sad when a mother and daughter become strangers.


Mugen said...

Same thing, it is sad when children and parents become strangers.


was like that before... a family of strangers...

mink said...

wicked yes, but true.

still love is the driving force to hold on to something important, like family and friendship...


the donG said...

maraming ganyan ngayon. tsaka lumalala na rin. kakalungkot pero nangyayari na.

dabo said...

life is about priorities..

gibo said...

this post reminds me of the film "when strangers reunite". sad.

on the brighter side, wagi ang V, ang ganda ganda ng anak nya!

mel beckham said...

malungkot, mahirap pero kailangan tanggapin. may paraan pa rin ang lahat.

jericho said...

@mugen: true true
@kris: good thing it changed..;)
@mink: i think that as long as they have it .. there's still hope
@dong: oo nga. malapit na ako. chos! hehe
@dabo: painful nga lang
@gibo: kureks. naiyak ako sa pelikulang yun. byutipul nga si V. ika nga eh improvement of the race.. hehe

jericho said...

@mel: yeah. I do hope so..;)

reyna elena said...

you hit a nerve on me ateng!

my niece, that we all so adore was about 2 years old when we all left the Philippines for the US. ang hirap to be separated. years passed, medyo nagkalabuan ang brother ko with his wife. na-apektuhan ang bata. she would grow up, na hate na yong tatay because in her mind wala na syang tatay. us, wala na rin yong feeling closeness. everytime we go home, wala na yong connection. kakaiyak. i live through the days na bata pa sya.

dr magsasaka said...

I remember TIME had a special issue on this, the hidden toll of migration.

Unquantified as a side effect of separation, the distance affects interpersonal relationships to the point that marriages are wrecked, children become delinquents, and lovers drift apart emotionally.


Maganda ang merong pera, but people have to decide their priorities in life and negotiate for what is acceptable.

dabo said...

I really like to add too.. "too whom much is given, much is expected"

to most people, the child is a world, how come money becomes the sun.

this is really a sad entry.. but there are encompassing vibrations of life in the words you just immortalized.

kiel said...

as a former ofw, i feel this now when i returned back home.

home. such a curious word since i feel like a stranger to my own country sometimes.

but i'd like to think behind the sadness and the toll it takes on relationships are more stories of how people try to keep it together. i'd like to believe na because this is a fact of life for a significant part of the population (and more if you count their families) in this country, there are also a lot of stories of ofw's that are happy. tipong triumph of the human spirit.

call me charlotte of SATC.