BY ANNE QUINTOS
Part of why we sent our 9-month old daughter back home was because our landlord requested us to move to another apartment this December. We imagined that moving will be a challenge for our baby. That's why we made a decision and booked her ticket from Taiwan to Manila.
This morning, we were informed that we don't have to move till April next year. This news made me want to scream and say "I want a refund!" Refund the time we were away from my baby!
But then again, us being separated for six weeks is a learning experience. Because of it, I've begun to see the pain and struggles of many OFW parents.
Even with FaceTime and Skype in this modern age, I felt such awful stab in my heart when my baby reached out to me and yet it's just to a tablet screen. At one point, I had this crazy idea that it's possible kids see their OFW parents as little people living in computers and mobile devices. Or that they have square heads without bodies.
All questions of OFWs also ran in my mind in weeks, days, and hours away from my daughter. Are we bad parents? Is this the best for her? Will she take it against us when she's older? How long will it be until she gets used to it and forgets the time we've spent together?
Yes, there were moments when my husband and I felt relieved that we got some break from child-rearing. In fact, right after we have decided that sending her home until Christmas is the best option, we have planned short trips so we can enjoy each other once again after having a baby. As a couple.
Now that she's away, our dates and trips together just end up with us looking at our phone screen and browsing through 1001 photos and videos of her, then wanting to come home just to call her.
The plight of OFW parents became so clear to me that I can't even imagine their pain of not seeing their sons and daughters for years.
All in the hope of giving them a better future. Good education. A decent place to live. Food on the table.
This, no matter how devoid of physical warmth from cuddles and kisses, is still parenting. Most importantly, it is still love.
To OFW parents, remain strong. Focus on what you need to do now so you won't get back to your children a little too late. Though we may not be able to refund the time lost, our kids will hopefully reap its benefits in the future. Someday, maybe they won't need to become OFW parents themselves.