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A Heartfelt ‘Letter To My Parents’

Permit me to share a portion of the winning entry in the first “Letter to my Parents” contest in Hawaii. I could give you my take, but my words are no match for Maria Andrea Jurado’s heartfelt message to her “Mama” and “Tatay.”

You were not there on my first day of kindergarten. You were not there when I received my Most Intelligent Award in Prep class. You were not there to answer my math questions, or my curious questions about life. Call me naive and selfish, but the truth is, I began to hate your absence in my life.

I was in third grade when we had our first communion ceremony. I was excited about this milestone in my life, and yet I did not have an accompanying adult. I hated the fact that I am alone. It seemed as though you don’t love me. You’re always busy doing your job that you’ve forgotten the one job you have as parents.

Every day, I dreaded coming out of my room and talking to you because I thought that you wouldn’t have the time for me anyway.

I never would have guessed that it was the time when we were almost begging all of our acquaintances for food, shelter and clothing that I would finally see how blessed I am that you are my parents.

These times were the darkest days of my life. We had nothing but hard, concrete floors to sleep on, and some blankets from Goodwill to keep us from the cold nights. We were eating off of plates from the apartment’s last occupants on top of the box of the one desk fan we purchased at Wal-Mart.

Mama, Tatay, sorry I was too blind to see that what you were doing was for our future. I am sorry I always argue. I am sorry I was unappreciative. It’s true; wisdom comes with age. I am deeply grateful and amazed by how you were able to turn our lives around despite the troubles we’ve gone through. ,Mama worked three jobs simultaneously to ensure that the three of us don’t starve.

You’re still working because your love for us outweighs all the hardships in the world. Mama, Tatay, thank you for still working as housekeepers and providing us our needs. Thank you for teaching me how to dream big.

Maria is now a freshman at Columbia University. She won $1,000 for her letter, but the greatest reward was improving her relationship with her parents.

Toshiro Obara, vice president of Reiyukai America, contest co-organizers, sees Letter to my Parents as a “magnet to connect the family that was splitting apart.”

The contest is open to ages 15-22. Letters must be fewer than 1,000 words and submitted by Friday (Oct. 24). At the very least, it’s an opportunity to tell your parents what they mean to you and how they have shaped the person you are today.

Parenting is tough and thankless at times, but a letter can go a long way. lettertomyparents.com facebook.com/LetterToMyParentsHawaii