My parents moved their family of four children to the United States in 1970. I was one years old and I had two sisters that were 10 and 8 and a brother that was 6. We arrived on Halloween night, a holiday not observed in the Philippines. When we arrived at my aunt’s house, the doorbell rang and when my siblings went to answer the door, children were dressed in their costumes, which created an immediate concern with the American culture.
Assimilation for me was easy as I was very young when we arrived. My parents were very strict, not quite a “tiger mom” but strict. They never let us go out and a sleepover was never an option. I grew up in San Francisco and attended public schools. My high school was one of the toughest high schools which taught me to grow up very fast. I met my ex-husband in high school and he was just as tough as the school itself. It was the beginning of the classic story of girl falls for a “bad boy” and pays for it later.
The Challenge and The Turning Point:
After 11 years of marriage filled with trust issues, addiction, and emotional distress, I left and was granted full custody of my four children. I raised them as single-mom with no support from their father. Some felt sorry for me, but actually it was the best decision I ever made and my life was actually easier without the added stress. As soon as the stress was removed, my career got kick-started, the kids were thriving, and I went back to school to finally earn my degree. A dear friend offered to watch the kids so I could attend class in the evenings.
Life Today: The dear friend became my boyfriend and is now my fiancé. We live a busy life with our work and school. Through all our craziest times of drop off and pick ups, we still find time to do things together. He is a kind, loving, and gentle man and loves my kids as if they were his own. It is through him that I learned how a relationship should be and my children learned what family truly meant.