Below is a letter from a Filipina in the US to her father in the Philippines.
I hope this letter finds you well. Daddy, this letter took a long time coming. Now at 58, I realized how bad a daughter I have been to you and Mommy. You have always been there for me through it all. Here are some incidents you may have forgotten.
In 1st grade, I broke a neighbor’s windshield with a stone. You paid the guy and never scolded me about the incident.
In 2nd grade I fought with the maid, she lost her temper and hit me. Mom loved her because she was efficient and she loved my baby brother. I did not really want her fired. You had her packing that same day. In my heart I appreciated that.
When I went to vacation with Grandma I stepped on a nail. My playmates were afraid they would be in trouble so we just tried to patch it up and told no one. When I came home my foot was too swollen to hide. You noticed and took me for tetanus shots. You did not scold me then either. In fact I can’t remember a time in my entire childhood that you ever scolded me while my brothers got spanked.
In high school Mom did not give me much money. You decided to give a more generous allowance directly to me. I spent them on American magazines. The magazines ‘Americanized’ half of me wanting to do stuffs American kids did like smoking, drinking and dating. I wanted to be the bold, strong, liberated and political woman of the 60’s.
After I ran away, Mommy said you watched the news daily for anything on me, in case I should need bailing out, hospitalization or burial. Then I had a miscarriage. You took me to the hospital and paid the bills. I don’t remember thanking you but in my heart I appreciated that you let me go without “I told you so”.
When I got pregnant again you took us in, all 3 of us including my unemployed husband. When we split up, you took me and my son back. It hurt my pride that I kept coming back to you in trouble even if you never rubbed my face in it.
You never went to the movies but you and Mom came to my film showing projects. You seemed proud of me when I built my first home and you helped me finish the back door laundry area. When I put up the transport business and could not get a franchise you got your friend who owned a fleet to give me one. I know you did not want me to go to the US but I was still restless at 48.
There’s something about isolation in America that matures a Filipino. I’m sorry I was not the daughter you deserve. I love you Daddy. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.