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Of Boxes and Happiness (Ode to the OFW's/Balikbayans)

The parade of Balikbayan boxes have always been a regular occurrence in our home. When I was younger, it would mean having another set of imported clothes, bags and tons of chocolates. We would anticipate its coming like a homecoming of a long lost relative with open arms and eager smiles. We would celebrate its arrival, marking the date and imagining all sorts of surprises coming out of the box.

How fun it was during those days. And now, looking back, how materialistic of all of us.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound impolite or ungrateful. I can understand the pride in being able to give and share. I am gifted with good enough financial independence that I take pride in being able to get my family things that they like if I can afford it. However, I dread the time where mere material things would replace my presence but would still bring the same joy in their lives. I don’t ever want to think that I can be replaced with anything. That they would rather prefer a box full of stuffs than me.

I remember how it was when a loved one would call from abroad and would ask you what you want (for Christmas or even on any other occasion). We are all guilty of saying a favorite thing or two, of having a list of all the things we want them to give us. But have we ever thought of how wonderful it is for them hear “I don’t want anything else, I just want you here.”

I'm getting sentimental, I know. But I am happy that I look at these things differently now. And if you ask me now what would make me happy, my answer would be this “to have you here and nothing else… for no box can give me happiness”


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