For The Kids

We had friends over yesterday for a baking session.


It was also a farewell party for one of them. She was going back to the Philippines for her kids.

She described how, on her last visit, her preschool daughter and 3-year old son cried all the way to NAIA when they realized the car had made a turn to Skyway, towards the airport, instead of back home to Cavite.

It made her think.

About the time she went to the house she owned and saved for, a house that she carefully constructed (and reluctantly rented out, since no one was going to stay there), only to find the tenant had drilled a huge hole in the wall between two rooms and had left the kitchen and the rest of the house in a sad state of uncleanliness and disrepair. She had tasked relatives to look after the house while she was away.

About those times she felt frustrated whenever she assured her daughter over Skype that homework grades didn’t have to be perfect as long as the child was learning – only to hear in the background her dad (the kids’ grandpa) say, “Hindi, dapat perfect!”

About the challenges of parenting from afar, of kids getting confusing messages from their primary caregivers and their parents abroad.

About the time when her son asked her why she had to leave, and she didn’t know what to say.


So, she made her calculations, discussed with her husband. They figured the family could manage financially on her husband’s income. She made plans for a business of her own.

She handed in her resignation after she arrived back in Singapore, the day after that airport incident.

All of her hard work as an overseas worker wouldn’t matter in the end anyway, she said, if one of her children grew up unkind, a burden to the community, or went astray.

She wouldn’t be able to turn back time and change things if that happened.

Time was one thing you couldn’t save for.

Time was one thing you couldn’t take back.


Good luck L, and I hope your neighborhood bakery business takes off.


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