Words to live by

Way back when I earned my first salary in my first job, I was so proud of myself and wanted to give all of my “hard earned money” to my mom.  I actually did that but my mom, instead of taking it said to me, “Keep it.  It isn’t even enough to buy yourself nice clothes to wear at work.  That was true.  I did not know yet how to budget my money then and so, a week after receiving my salary, there I was asking my mom if she could “lend” me some money for my fare to work.  That was my mom.  Her words actually taught me what I could do with my hard earned money.  Two options were opened to me then — I saved part of it, the rest I apportioned for my “needs”.

My second to the eldest sister was my idol.  When I was in the grades and our teacher would ask us to write about who/what we wanted to be when we grow up, I consistently wrote about this particular sister (I have three of them) as I actually wanted to be like her in every way — how easy for her to be friends with others, her fashion style, her confidence.  However, I did not end up becoming like her.  It was okay because she eventually became my number one fan.   According to her friends she talked non-stop about me being a college professor.

I married young and did not get the chance to know my husband and his family that well.  I only felt “not wanted” by his family.  After three years of living together and two children, even my husband no longer “wanted me”.  I was literally thrown out and a few months after that we found ourselves in court battling for child custody.  Not having a mom anymore to run to for help, I turned to my dad who consoled me and said to me, “One day you will get reconciled with your children.  Meanwhile, enrich yourself so that when that time comes they will find you a success instead of the failure that your husband and his family wanted you to be.”

Still another sister, the eldest in our family also gave me not words this time, but actions to live by.  We did not not really say much to each other probably because there is an 11-year gap in our ages.  She showed me how when one gets married, to put family first before everything else.  She was also the epitome, for me, of forbearance.  She had that inner strength of steel against all the odds that she endured throughout her life.  I only got to know if ever odds were against her through her children.

These four members of my family have passed away, my eldest sister being just six days ago.  What I wrote here are those which had the most lasting effect on me, on my life in general and I have been living by their words and examples as much as I can.  I hope I can also be as effective in spreading their words of wisdom and being an example like them to others as well, in my lifetime.

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