My friend once asked me about how I could always be so happy. At the time, I simply laughed it off, but in my head, I had a deeper answer for her. It was because I am grateful for all the love that I receive and the tough experiences that made me appreciate the small things in life.
My mom passed away when I was four years old, and I watched my dad go through the hardships of raising four children and working two jobs. He had to be strong in front of us because if he crumbled, we would not know who to look up to. The stress of dealing all that alone is no joke and as a kid, I was incapable of helping him. All I could do was see him off to work in the mornings and welcome him home after work. Having to see him struggle, I learned how to be thankful for him providing a roof over our heads and food on the table.
Throughout the years of school, I encountered many situations where my classmates would question why I didn’t have a mom. There would be a pause before answering them because every time I was asked, the realization of me not having one resurfaces. Whenever we made cards for Mother’s Day, I would place my nanny’s name instead, raising weird looks and confusion. To this day, I still have trouble explaining, so instead I choose to keep quiet.
Even though my mom has left, I am thankful to have a nanny who has been taking care of me since I was one week old. She treats me like one of her daughters and has become someone I rely on. Her influence on my life has covered the void of a missing mother figure. I realized that family is not defined by blood, but by the ones who are important to you.
My nanny taught me when in tough times, I must be strong. I remember a few months ago, the night when her dad was hospitalized. He was someone who I held dear to my heart and was like a grandfather to me. Since I was a kid, every Saturday was reserved for him. We would have lunch and dinner together. Although nothing expensive, just fish and a few vegetables, I ate happily with him and my nanny in a tiny table that was only enough for two. Every day we would visit him twice in the hospital in hopes that our presence would help him recover. Once in the afternoon. Again after dinnertime. But three weeks later in late August, we received a phone call to see him for the last time. The call I never wished to receive. The car that was filled with my dad, nanny, sister, and brother, suddenly seemed so spacious on our way to the hospital. She comforted me when I was the one who was supposed to be comforting her.
I felt that another wound had been inflicted upon me like when my mother passed; both are still taking time to heal. Through the painful experiences that left me with open wounds, I found my family and friends to be the ones healing me. The loss of the ones I love has made me be even more thankful. I realized that we should not take things for granted because we will never know when it will be gone. So as I continue on, I make sure to cherish the moments I have with those whom I love. That way, I am able to find happiness amidst the sadness placed upon me.