Family Over Everything

Counting down the days till the New Year always means it’s that time to begin reflecting of the one that had just passed. And as always, a lot has happened throughout the twelve months and one of the important things I’ve learned is something that was taught in one of my theory classes: the family is the constant in one’s life.

My family, just like others, isn’t perfect. We have many flaws and many faults that have changed us and made us who we are and helped us handle situations better day by day. This year was not the easiest nor was it the hardest; however it was one that made us much stronger.

For almost two years my parents were both out of jobs and it was eating at them. You can tell that during that time in their lives it was deteriorating their marriage. They both have failed as husband and wife; they failed even more as parents, their children’s providers. It was hurtful to see them each day looking at another with a questioned look of “Where did we go wrong?” and the other one would exchange their stare with “I don’t even know”.  It broke me seeing them both fall to their lowest points and I wasn’t able to save them because I was too busy saving myself.

My mother questioned their marriage, thinking of leaving my father while she still can. My aunt offered my mom a getaway in San Francisco to ease and relax her mind off things. My mom declined. She continued to put up with my father and his failing faith in our God. She loves him even when it’s hard for him to love himself.

One day while my dad and I were driving in the car he mentioned to me of how much of a failure he felt. He told me how being put in this struggle, he would pray each night but he wondered why God has never answered him. How was my father supposed to provide and protect his family, when his faith is being tested and he wasn’t fighting back? He was losing all hope in God and himself.  He wouldn’t sleep at night, his appetite began to decrease and you can notice it in an instant.

I was also ashamed and embarrassed of our situation. I never wanted to tell my friends or my boyfriend at that time what my family was going through. I figured that it wasn’t something to boast about and it wasn’t something that deserved pity for either. I have pride that didn’t want anyone’s pity or sympathy. So I put up a poker face, pretending that my family and I were doing well and I never told my friends or anyone who was willing to listen.  I felt so ashamed, so ashamed, so very ashamed of my family and there were some nights when I cried about it. I know God has forgiven me for my faults but I will never fully forgive myself.

My parents’ unemployment continued this year for three months until finally my dad got a call from a company. We were blessed with a little ray of sunshine in this stormy weather that fell upon us. Thankfully, a couple of weeks later I was fortunate to be offered a part time position at a retail store. It was blessing upon blessing in a month and our family can only go uphill from there or so I thought. For some time my father would return home from work telling my mother that every day his managers would be laying off a coworker and he was scared that one day he’d be coming to tell us it was his turn. And I guess the odds weren’t in his favour because one day it was his call. His faith was continuously being pushed and he wasn’t on the same level as God. I think having my dad being laid off after almost three years of being unemployed really took a toll on our family. We were putting off a picture perfect surface to everyone outside our family, when really we were broken and tired. It was hard to find a positive out of all that has happened, my father was tired but still resilient. Each day he would be looking for job offers online, and every day his phone call wouldn’t ring.

Later this summer my mom got a call back for a part time position at a department store, the sun’s ray is still shining down on our family. Although this job is more physically demanding than what she is used to, my mom is still going in each day and working hard. She comes home with stories, and I think she has more knowledge, understanding and appreciation of what my sister and I go through at work, being sales associates ourselves.

Everything is looking brighter as sometime in September my father got another call back for a full time position and this one is looking much better than his last. He doesn’t come home scared that one day he will get laid off again. Instead, he speaks well of his coworkers and takes home some treats that is offered at his work. The clouds are disappearing from the sky and we can finally see the sun shining.

With all of us having jobs, compared to the beginning of the year when my sister was the only one working, we are much happier than before. We all have stories to tell each other and we all respect everyone a little more. I’m no longer ashamed of what my family went through for the past three years, heck even in the past year since we were able to experience it together. I’m thankful for the hardships and the struggle because without it I wouldn’t be able to appreciate my family as a blessing. I can’t speak for my family, but I can speak for myself when I say that I thank God for such a hard but so worth enduring year that He has given my family and I to work through. It just gives me another reason to say that I value my family more than anything and I’m much grateful now knowing that we are happier than a year ago.

A lot can happen in a year, and this year my family understood the true meaning of that.

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