A Painful Realization

Kristine - Plainfield, Illinois
Entered on April 6, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Conflict is bound to occur between parents and their children. I have always struggled with my parents and their way of raising me. It’s hard to admit that my actions and words were painful and wrong and I still struggle with understanding their actions, past and present.

I was born in the Philippines and moved to Illinois when I was five years old. Through the years I have noticed the difficulty of maintaining the culture of the parents and today’s American culture. It is difficult to meld the two together without losing something valuable along the way.

Growing up, my parents were strict. They never let me go to sleepovers. I couldn’t go to school dances but still I always begged. I yelled about my lack of freedom, how I didn’t have any fun, was always stuck in the house, and how I wanted to date and have a boyfriend.

I broke down one day and wrote a rather hurtful letter thoroughly explaining my pain, struggles, and fears and emailed it to my sister. Writing that letter made me realize that despite how much I may disagree with my parents, they have always had good intentions. I realize that my sisters have managed to live life despite growing up with even stricter expectations. I realize my mom’s stresses, worries and how difficult it must be to work two jobs and maintain a household. I realize that my parents try to understand me and they love me even though they never express it in words.

I can never seem to understand my parents’ struggles, but I realize now that it would be damn ignorant for me to say that my life growing up has been horrible. I owe so much to them that my outward ungratefulness throughout the years has overshadowed my inner, latent appreciation of their sacrifices. I know that I have denied them and I am ashamed. I was embarrassed of how they spoke and I foolishly thought that I was smarter than them. For everything they disapproved of, I was angry at them. I was narrow-minded. I didn’t see their side.

Now as a young woman of nineteen, I don’t feel I have fully grown up. Nor do I understand my parents completely but I appreciate them for all they have done. It isn’t about what they didn’t let me do, but it is about the important values they have instilled in me. I believe that in order to have a successful future as an adult, I have to appreciate my beginnings.