I grew up in a culture where repaying your elders for all their sacrifices is such a big deal. There’s no written agreement but it has been observed from generation to generation in my family. The tradition has been, my parents send me off to school and pay for everything then when I finish school and find a job, it’s payback time. A portion of my salary goes to them or to my siblings. I can’t complain but sometimes I waddle from self-pity to resentment especially when there are things I wanted to buy for myself or my immediate family yet cannot because the college tuition fees of my two sisters are already due.
Hubby’s parents are different. During the first few years of my marriage, I got into some disagreement with him over this so-called financial support given to my parents. He cannot understand the fact that I just can’t turn my back from my parents. However, later on, we’ve come to terms about how to deal with the issue.
Your parents are responsible for raising you. You are not responsible for them. Although it’s honorable to make sure your parents have a good life, don’t do it out of guilt.
It sure hit me smack right within. While it’s true that parents are supposed to take care of their children and not the other way around, I still go on a guilt trip every time my parents would tell me the hardships they’ve been through. Papa has retired when I entered college and Mama’s meager income as hospital employee cannot cope with their daily needs. The modest revenue we get from my father’s piece of copra land and rice field is also not enough to send 2 college and 1 high school siblings to school so my parents would turn to me and my sister for a little support. I also can’t see myself living my life in luxury while my parents live in misery with nary a food on the table. No matter what happens, they are my parents, blood of my blood and nothing could ever change that. Maybe it’s not the tradition that compels us to support our parents when they age. It’s the circumstances that our parents are into. Had it been that they have silver platter on the table or a fat bank account, I’m sure they would never seek our help. I guess the best way is to snap out of that guilty feeling as what Small Potato suggests and think of it as a noble act.
I know these bits and pieces about my family are too personal to be roving in this blogosphere but I felt relieved. Earlier today, I said some mean things to my parents through text telling them how bitter I was for having to take on the responsibility of sending my siblings to school. It was awful I know but I said sorry. From now on, I will not be bitter anymore and whatever help I will have to extend will be done because I care.