A Lesson in Love

Once, I admitted to my boyfriend that I measure the success of my relationships based on how closely they resemble my parents’ relationship. I’m sure my parents’ relationship has its faults, but my parents seem to genuinely care for and respect each other. That, I think, is more than any child can ask for.

I want to share something my father said yesterday. Moving to America has been, quite honestly, like living Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Let me put it another way: it wasn’t easy and we’re coming to the point where we’re doubting it ever will be.

We were driving home yesterday and he confessed that he felt our situation was getting desperate and he was getting frustrated. And then he said, “Palpak talaga si Daddy. Kawawa naman si Mommy, hindi na nakaranas ng ginhawa dahil sa’kin.” [Translation: “Daddy’s such a failure. Poor mommy has never gotten relief because of me.”]

I’ll be honest, I hate my family’s situation too, but I think of just myself.

When will I get out of this house? When will I be able to afford clothes that don’t fall apart after you wash them? When can I quit my stupid food service job?

In my world, it’s all me, me, me.

And then here’s my dad, with his love for my mom. He’s not even thinking about himself. The only thing he thinks about himself is that he is to blame for where we are.

Damn.

I dare you find a man like that in a 1000 mi radius from where you are. I doubt you will find one.

There are a lot of kinds of love out there but I know the highest form of love is selfless. I am in no way suggesting that you should be a martyr for the one you love – we are all sick of unrequited love, thank you very much. What I am suggesting is that in order to be in a relationship that will work, you have to care about the other person enough that you will think of their well-being and happiness as amounting to your own. I know that sounds like something that’s really difficult to do. But I am sure that for the right person, even the difficult things are easy.

[To write this post was a real struggle. I found that I didn’t have the words to communicate exactly how much my father loves my mom. That’s a shame because I think people ought to know love-like-in-movies exists in real life.]

One last thing: I have always thought that if at my parents’ age I am as happily married as they are now that I will consider myself a lucky girl. I’ve never believed that more than I do now. My mom is a lucky woman and I hope she knows that.

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