Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Family that Prays Together Stays Together

Family.  The word means something different to everyone.  For some people it’s merely a word, meaning a group of related people.  To some that word brings a sense of pride, for some a sense of responsibility, for others it means support, and maybe others it means pure love.  That one word can fill a person with hope, joy, peace, and love yet for someone else it can bring up feelings of hurt, pain, regret, and obligation.

Too often in our lives, we put our family in that left over space, after work, friends, church, errands, and nearly everything else in our lives.  For some, family means holidays and having to spend time with people they can barely tolerate.  I’m extremely blessed that my family is always there for each other and supports each other.  My best description of us would be perfectly imperfect.  I wish I got to spend more time with everyone, but distance usually keeps that from happening.  The last time we were complete was during my wedding last August.  While my siblings and I enjoy spending time together, I think what we enjoy the most is seeing our parents’ faces when we are complete.

Mama and Papa celebrating their
43rd wedding anniversary
My parents are celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary this month and we were already starting to think about a way to throw a grand celebration for their Golden Anniversary in 2020.   Unfortunately, recently I have had several friends lose their parents far too soon.  So last month my siblings and I decided to make a quick change of plans.  2020 is too far in the future and we never want to live with regret.  We decided why not just celebrate their 43th anniversary with a big surprise.  This weekend, my brother Karl and his wife Joy flew from China, my sister Jing and her son Uno flew from Hong Kong, my sister Maye came with my parents from Leyte, and they joined my brother Roelan and his 2 children Reah and Christian , my brother Mike and his wife Leah, with me and my husband Adam as we pulled off a surprise party for my parents here in Cebu.  It was bittersweet, as my brother Reymond and family couldn’t come from Hong Kong, and not all children and spouses could make the trip so we were not complete, but we did the best we could.  It was a triple celebration: my Mama’s 70th birthday is also later this month, and Fathers’ Day is today.

Triple celebration: Mama's 70th birthday,
Mama and Papa's 43rd anniversary, and Fathers Day
Just like most things in life, everything didn’t go exactly as planned.   Our times got mixed up, I thought I was supposed to deliver my parents around 11:30-12:00, my brother and sister thought it was 12:30-1:00, which meant a little detour and pretending I really wanted to stop for pandesal.  We had hoped for bright shining sun, but it was a mostly overcast day with some rain since it is that time of year again.  We had planned on swimming at the pool in the subdivision, but it turned out that another family reunion had the same idea and when we arrived the pool was packed full.  But all of those things didn’t really matter.  We just moved back inside and guess what, we talked, we reminisced, and we do what all Filipinos families do… we sing karaoke together!  I think we learned a lesson that it doesn’t really matter what we do, the fact is that we were all together.

The Fegi Clan (missing Reymond): (L to R):
Karl, papa, Maye, Me, Mama, Jing, Roelan, and Mike
(photo from Jing Zoleta)
Today made me think about families in general.  We may not be perfect and things might not always go as planned.  We have our fights and our misunderstandings.  We have 7 siblings; it’s going to happen.  But what’s important is that the love is not just about the good side, we love and accept our imperfections as well.  We are honest, sometimes to a fault, but we have accepted that we can’t get rid of each other and we forever will always be family.  If we feel there is something we have to say we try to remember Mama’s rule; “always say it will love.”  And now the family just continues to grow, so I’m sure that means there will be more fights and misunderstandings, but that means more reconciliations and more love to share.

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