Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
Saturday, May 13, 2006
No matter how old one gets, hanging out with the parents for a couple of days sure can do a number on your psyche. I've been out West to help my parents get their stuff together. They have decided to move back to the Philippines as part of their retirement. Truth is, they moved to California to avoid the cold of the Northeast. And to be part of the camraderie that they thought existed within the Filipino community. Alas, the camraderie was not found.

The problem is that my parents (who are 72 and 69 years of age) have nothing in common with their fellow countrymen of that age who live on the West Coast. My father plays 18 holes of golf without a caddy, carrying his half-set of clubs, and walking the entire course (even if he is with people who drive carts). Most other 72 year-old Filipino males don't even play golf. My mother is equally as active with her gardening, the household chores, and going for long walks. Other Filipino women her age? Not so much. So, they tend to hang out with people who are 20 to 30 years younger. But the problem is, those people are not retired.

So, they decided that it's been a while since they lived in the Philippines (40 years exactly) and since they would benefit financially, and would also be around more active people their age, they were going to move back. Being U.S. Citizens, they have obligations to come back to U.S. Soil, so we may be schlepping to Hawaii to see them ever so often.

Anyhoo, the past four days have been spent making sure all the paperwork they need to take care of has been done. And making sure that all that they need to start their new life is with them. I went to see them off and spend some quaility time with them. And that's where it all starts... is there really such a thing as quality time with the parents? No matter how good it is, doesn't it always eventually become one big critique on your life? You're too this, you're too that, you spend to much, you don't eat enough, you should take care of yourself better, you are too fat, you work too hard, you should think of your future, you should spend more time enjoying yourself, blah, blah, blahbity, blah... and it keeps going on. Until, I just tell them that they have obviously raised two moronic children that obviously couldn't get their life straight with a ruler. Then, they realize their stupidity and shut up... for about 10 minutes.

Truth be told, I am very happy for them. They have made a decision to make their lives better and they are doing it. My parents have lived in Africa, Asia, and U.S.A. For extended periods of time. They're wanderers. This is just another part of their journey. At the airport, my father was so excited to be leaving that he almost forgot to say goodbye to my sister and me, his only two children. He still calls my sister by my name and me by hers. My mother was a bit more wary and nervous but I am sure she will settle in quite well to the lifestyle that most U.S. Citizens who move to another country get accustomed to... i.e. having maids and servants to do the work. Trust me on this, it is part of the Filipino culture.

I've been wrestling with a lot of feelings inside for the past two days. Happy for them. Sad to see them leave. Down that I can't just go visit them on a whim. Glad they won't be worried of their financial future. I'm sure, I'll be fine with it all. I think my feelings stem from my parents being at the end of their lives. They have talked about what would happen if one of them dies. My dad says that he would follow quickly if my mom died first. Mom plans on enjoying a time when she doesn't have to listen to my father. Oh, yes she did.

I need to rest my psyche. Later.
I can so relate to your trip... You love them, and you love to abhor them at times. In the end, you know that they want only what is best for you and to see you (and your sister), happy and fulfilled with life. Sometimes that desire doesn't exactly translate with their critiques and comments, but the underlying wish is for your happiness.

My mother and sister live abroad and each time I see them I enjoy them much more than if I had them around the block, so hopefully, your future trips to visit mom and pop will be equally fruitful.


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I'm just writing down some of the things that run through my head.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Eating up the City before it eats me up. I'm a freelance cook who spends his free time working out, cooking for "my man", and wondering why the Right is so concerned about my bedroom.

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