A Mother’s Lament

Mom & Pop with AngeOne trend in Philippine society, because of its lagging economy, is for its people to seek employment abroad. The government boasts that its greatest resource is its people. The income generated by OFWs, Overseas Foreign Workers, is said to account for a sizable percentage of the national income. Not only do the worker’s families benefit from the income earned abroad, but the nation’s economy is boosted because of this.

So mothers and fathers leave their children behind in order to give them a better future. My parents were among the millions who have been doing this for generations. My father left to work overseas the very same day that my youngest sister was born. He barely caught a glimpse of her before running off to catch his flight. This is the only way he could have supported a family of three children. His civil servant position did not pay enough to support us. He knew that.

A few years later, his contract over, he returns home to find his youngest child afraid of him. It took her a while to warm up to the father she didn’t recognize, and it broke his heart.

My mother was next to leave. When I was eight, she got a chance to go to the U.S. Without promising prospects at home, she jumped at the chance and left us behind. She would send money for our school, and anything else we needed. She sent packages that smelled of America full of candies and toys and clothes. But she wasn’t there. We were raised by the house help we were able to hire from the money she sent and by relatives who checked in on us often, but still different from when mom is around.

I was 12 going on 13 by the time we joined my mom here in the U.S. By this time she and my father have separated and she had remarried. She didn’t really know who the teenagers who are about to descend on her. We didn’t really know her either. It took a while for all of us to fall in the groove.

So I know this mother’s pain when she talks about the kids she left at home. It brings tears to my eyes being a mother myself and imagining how it would be if I were to leave my babies behind. She sang this song for them. Watch this video of a Filipina Mom on Britain’s Got Talent.

Whether she does well in the competition or not (I hope she does), she has already touched so many people who can relate to what she is going through. I pray for her as I pray for millions like her that a day will come when mothers won’t have to leave their children in order to be able to provide for them.

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8 thoughts on “A Mother’s Lament

  1. francesca

    children are like our pets. we got to be there with them.
    I can relate that singer’s feelings. I left my kids too for five years and when I saw them at manila airport, nag ala nora aunor ako sa drama, iyakan, sama ko pa non Lolo Michel.
    I wish her to win too. For her and her children.

  2. nance

    very touching, jmom! i can relate with her … just like you, the thought of being away from my kids many miles away brings tears to my eyes. hope she’ll make it for the sake of her girls.

  3. Jet

    naiyak din ako nung panoorin ko yung video na yan. same way that my eyes almost filled when you said you pray that the day will come when mothers won\’t have to leave their children anymore. I guess I\’m getting homesick again.

    And I answered your question in Toni\’s blog. I said I\’d rather be here, right where I am. And that is true cause wherever Papa Jay is is my happy place. I do have my moments though when I miss home and family. Well, we can\’t really have it all, now could we?

  4. Jayme

    I admire moms who can endure the sacrifice of being away from their kids to ensure their future. But if I were given a choice and for as long as I can manage to support my family working here in the Philippines, I’d choose to stay with my kids. I still believe that no matter how much money I can provide for them, nothing would be worth more than my love and constant presence in their lives. 🙂

  5. watson

    JMom, this is really a sad reality of our country. Proud pa ang government to say that the OFWs are the bagong bayanis but our OFWs don’t really feel that way because they leave the country and their family because they have no other choice.

    Off topic: napadaan ako kasi I think you tagged me? Di ko na mahanap… hehe.

  6. GreyMom

    Huwaaaaaa!!! Naiyak naman ako ng husto sa video.
    It’s a sad reality and I do hope she makes it and that it opens doors for her. She does have talent and hopefully it’ll be instrumental in ensuring a brighter future for her kids.

  7. Meeya

    i saw this vid before on someone else’s blog. more than wanting her to win because she’s pinay, i want her to win so that she could be reunited with her kids.


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