For the most part of my teenage life, I have always dedicated more time and efforts on my friends than on my family. I swear – if there exists a Guiness World Record for the fastest person to think of excuses from family events, that would be me, hands-down. Then, about a year ago, I changed.

Just to provide a little background, I am part of a (severely) broken family. When people asked me before how many we were in the family, I always joked that I have about four mothers, four fathers, about a million half siblings, and that if I explained the situation, I’ll finish in about sixty years. Family, for me, was synonymous to drama. Adding that to the raging hormones and rebellious urges of the teenage years, and I got myself a recipe for life mistakes.

I never used to update my parents on my life. I just felt that they didn’t understand nor cared. When I wanted to go out, I would. When I wanted to go do something, I would. When I had problems, I coped on my own or by the help of my friends. When there were school functions or presentations, I never invited my parents to watch. I believed I was old enough, that I can take care of myself, and that I am, in all ways, independent. Then, in an unexpected turn of events, I was left here in Manila with only my half-brother about a year ago.

Without my parents, I was forced to accept that I know very little of life. Having to accept more responsibilities made me realize the sacrifices my parents made on my behalf. I never saw that they always went out of their way to make sure life wasn’t too hard on me until that moment. I realized how amazing they really were, that even if I was a very foolish teen, they always tried to understand me and just be there for me even if I have always rejected their help and concern. I realized that my parents and siblings continuously give me the genuine love and appreciation I sought from God knows where, and I was blind to it all. I realized life is not about me being strong or independent or even mature, it is about loving and being loved, and that the best place to see that is in family.

Now, I’m almost seventeen years old. Needless to say, I now hold different values and views on family from the rest of my teenage life. I know I have wronged my family over and over in my teenage years, but I also know that they will be always there for me anyway. I’m not ashamed to say that I love them and that I will always treasure them for the rest of my life. This is what my teenage years made me realize.

I guess all I’m trying to show here is that being foolish, and well, young, may be part of teenage life. Mistakes are bound to happen. Teenage years may be full of changes and unfamiliarity, but one thing that will always stay is family. In rebelliousness or in maturity, in confusion or in wisdom, in weakness or in strength, in all ways and in always, family can be depended on.

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