Last Sunday, my dad, who has been living in Dubai for the past 29 years hopped on a plane and left for the Philippines for good. My mom because she has some things to take care of in the business that they invested in here in Dubai has to stay but will be following him in a few months. While we were at the airport food court, my dad hugged my daughter Aria and buried his face in her dress while she cried the bloody hell out of her lungs. A tear rolled down my cheek because I knew he was trying to fight back tears. I have never been a father’s girl I have to admit but I am very close to my family and my dad has always served as my silent hero – someone who I knew would try to make things alright if my world would crumble down… That Sunday night at the airport, my family’s heart broke – my mom trying hard to be strong and to look forward to being in Manila in a few months but deep down inside, knowing that she’ll have a miserable time being by herself in the months leading up to that. My big brother- knowing that the future will have very little of time spent with our dad- his mentor in life especially in being a father… and me, bawling my eyes out with Aria in my arms, sad at the thought that my daughter will not have enough quality time with or will never really get the chance to get to know my father- my first love…
I know plane tickets can be bought and vacations planned. But our lives as Filipino expat workers in Dubai do not hold as much advantage as others who are able to afford the luxury of flying their entire families from Dubai to their home countries once or twice a year. We are just not paid enough. I remember when we were kids, we were only able to go on vacation every three years. My dad worked hard to get us that vacation. I will never forget it. Thinking about it, I can imagine my brother who has three kids who might never have a real relationship with their grandparents just like how me and my brother didnt have much of a relationship with ours. Back when we were kids, phone calls were more expensive and there were no computers. But even though communication is so much easier now with the internet, its still sad to think that I cannot just go see my parents whenever I want to.
I always thought they would be around to guide me till my kids grew up. My mom has this thing with my niece where they sing the song “tomorrow” together. I wanted her to teach it to Aria too but the only thing she’ll ever get to do with her grandmother is to burp after feeding. I guess I never wanted to face the reality that my parents would get old and that they would get tired and that they would want some sort of change.
All these reminds me of the lyrics of a song by Jose mari chan called constant change
We’re on the road
We move from place to place
And oftentimes when I’m about to call it home
We’d have to move along
Life is a constant change…
The friends we know we meet along the way
Too soon the times we share form part of yesterday
‘Cause life’s a constant change
And nothing stays the same, oh no
Clouds that move across the skies
Are changing form before our very eyes
Why couldn’t we keep time from movin’ on?
Hold on to all the years before this moment’s gone?
Why must we live the days at such a frightening pace?
Have we outgrown our Peter Pans and wings?
We’ve simply grown too old for tales of knights and kings
‘Cause life’s a constant change
And nothing stays the same
I cried when I found out a few months ago that my dad was leaving for good. I cried at the airport when my dad left. And I am still crying while I am writing this. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll be crying while taking out the garbage. I plan to call my dad over the weekend and maybe I’ll be crying then. I am a big cry baby. Now we know why Aria cries a lot. She gets it from me.