On her 18th birthday, my daughter Waye Marie wrote this message: “When I was a little girl, I fantasized of becoming an Arabian Princess. My world would revolve around flying carpets, belly dancing, camel rides, and Aladdin’s magical lamp. This might have tied up to the fact that I was born in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and holding on to that mark of my past, I still have that dream etched in my young mind and heart.”
Yes, indeed! In Dammam, in the Middle Eastern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a beautiful baby girl was born in the morning of March 19, 1988; yet unaware of the kind of world that will be unfolded to her. I could still vividly remember the immense joy I felt when I held her close to my heart for the first time. A mother’s intuition, I knew then, that she will grow up to be a fine woman with a clearly defined vision of her future.
Well, how long ago was that? She was 3 and 1/2 months old when she left the Kingdom, for good. She survived the ten hours non-stop flight from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia to Manila, Philippines. Much more, she survived the tough times of growing up without a mother and a father by her side, with but a month in a year or two, for us to be together when I came home for vacation.
I did not have any doubt nor second thoughts when I left her under the care of her grandparents (my Mom and Dad). I knew in my heart that she will be in good hands, and will be well-taken cared of, while I was away to fulfill my employment under contract in the Middle East, and later on, when I immigrated to the United States.
You might ask: “Why on earth did I have the heart to leave behind, my only child?” It was not easy…believe me. I had to summon all the courage that I can hold on to; fight back my tears and bear those sleepless nights of longing to be with her, to hold and kiss her; I was always beset with worries and fear that I will not be able to reach out to her in times that she needs me; questioned myself what will become of her without my presence to guide her. But with all these emptiness and uncertainties, I surrendered it all to the one God who is my refuge and source of strength, prayed that she will be safe always, because at that point in time, it was the right choice and there was no better one.
Time flies so fast that she is a grown woman now. The bundle of joy that I carried in my arms and held close to my heart is now one year shy of a quarter of a century. She became her own person: strong-willed, independent thinker and doer, and with so much love to give. We have had our dose of life’s ups and downs, laughter and tears, longings, misunderstandings, and miscommunications. So much catching up to do, and both of us faced the challenge of going through the “bonding” process when I finally was able to have her to be with me. But the strong bond of Love that exists between us, although not frequently said, out-weighs all that we went through. Indeed, she is everything bundled into one daughter, what every mother could wish and ask for.