I have a Family. <3
Family. This word means so much to so many people. To me, it means the world. I cannot imagine myself not knowing my dad and my mom. I cannot imagine not having my nanay, my aunts, my uncles and all of my cousins. But there is one thing that I have learned about families.
We are not bound by blood.
When I was a little girl, my mom gave me up for a ‘temporary adoption’. I got to spend the summer in London with my Godparents – Uncle Boy and Auntie Ellen. They are amazing. Being a bundle of nerves, shyness and excessive energy, they were able to keep me in line (most of the time) and help me have an enjoyable summer in East London. I will never forget that.
When I left England and transferred to Manila, I had to stay at my mom’s twin sister’s place. I studied there for two years. And, during those two years, with no friends in Manila, my Aunt Lucy introduced me to the nieces and nephews of her husband, Tito Rolly. They are not family but they accepted me as a part of their own fold. I spent my Christmases with them. I spent summer vacations in Lucban, Quezon with them. And even if my mom and dad were a gazillion miles away, I knew I was not alone. Because I was surrounded by family.
Family is not bound by blood, It is bound by relationships. With Uncle Boy and Auntie Ellen, I found a couple who were willing to welcome me into their home and care for me unselfishly. Being a six-year old, howbeit young, I recognized that we were building a foundation of trust, acceptance and love. I was not their child yet I never felt like I was not welcome. I felt as if I were ‘temporarily’ theirs.
In Manila. Despite knowing that they were not my blood-relatives, I was welcomed and accepted. I had Christmas gifts just like everyone else. I was looked after with affection, just like a real part of the family. I was loved.
Now that I am 26, I am a far, far away from the little girl spending her summer in London. I am far, far away from the strange girl with the strange accent who transferred to Manila. But even if I have changed, I know that they are still there. I may not be bound to them by blood but I am bound to them by the relationships that we have built – no matter how long ago that was.
To my Uncle Boy and Auntie Ellen – If you come across this blog, I hope you realize and feel how grateful I am to have you as my godparents. Christmas and birthday gifts are not what have made you my ‘temporary’ parents. The love that you have freely given to me is what makes you my permanent ‘secondary’ parents. Not all girls or boys are able to have two sets of parents. This is why I know I was blessed to have you both in my life.
To my titos and titas in Manila. To all of my pinsang-hilaw, I love you. For accepting me and loving me when I was in an unfamiliar and unknown place. You were the familiar faces who helped me make a home out of the Philippines.
At the end of the day, nothing else really matters but the relationships you have built, nourished and cherished. And even if there are dark days in my life, I will always feel safe and blessed because I have so much more than just love.
I have a Family. <3