To Papa and Mama
Vivid in my mind are my childhood days
And one special place in San Juan I call home.
Ten children in all, growing up together
Imagine what a challenge that was for my mother and father!
Wealthy we were not, in material things we were wanting.
My father was in the army, my mom was a public school teacher
Between the two of them, they did their best to make a living.
But great faith and hope they have in God, our Creator!
I remember not having any meal allowance for school
Sometimes, I would go and collect empty bottles in the campus
And exchange them in the cafeteria for a few pesos.
And almost every meal, there was some rationing
Twelve individuals gathered at the dining table.
But each one of us didn’t go hungry
For my mom was wise in her skills culinary.
Hand-me down clothes I would wear to school
Socks and shoes almost worn down and torn.
Mama sewing our clothes over and over again.
I remember envying my classmates who had it all.
And yet despite the fact we had very limited possessions
As I reminisce those times, I realize I was really wealthy.
Not in material things but with love from my parents
Countless happy memories stand out in my mind, joyful experiences!
Sundays were special for after hearing mass
My parents will take us kids out for a spin in town.
Birthdays were important and were always celebrated
With noodles, fried chicken, and spring rolls, eagerly anticipated!
Summer vacations were spent in our home province
In a beach resort by the Gulf of Lingayen.
Christmas and New Year, remembered with fondness.
Opening my gifts filled me lots of excitement!
Crayons, books, shampoo, there were hardly any toys
Little things I got but gave me great joy!
Growing up in this family was very special
Even though there were conflicts and quarrels amongst siblings.
My family was not perfect but then whose family is?
Our family was held together, united by our parents.
To every single one of their kids, they were very loving and giving.
To them I owe my life and what I am now, all my blessings.
Thank you, Ma and Pa, for being there for us,
For your care and understanding and your trust.
Your patience, your concern for each one of your children.
Growing up sometimes we questioned your ways.
Now we know why it was because you loved us.
Kathleen Reguindin's Other Poems
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