A Moving Story Behind I Know You Love Me, Mommy and Daddy

  The online version of my tribute to my parents in Saipan.

The online version of my tribute to my parents in Saipan.

Around 2010, my father was having such a difficult time and was going through a time of depression. After speaking to my Mom, Anicia, about him, I wanted to find some way to encourage him.

I wanted to do something special and wanted to do it soon. So I called the local newspapers in Saipan to ask what their rates were for ad placements. They would cost hundreds of dollars. The person on the other end of the line at the advertisement department encouraged me to send what I wanted to do through their Letters to the Editor section.

I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn't be able to afford to give my parents a special feature by paying for a nice spot for them. My goal was to bless them in public. Tim and I prayed and told the Lord that we trusted in His provision. Then we became thankful and praised Him that He provided us with a free opportunity by sending in a "letter to the editor" instead of an ad.

I had no idea what would happen after I had sent in my letter of encouragement to both local newspapers in Saipan, the Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune. Unbeknownst to me, someone from one of the newspapers called my parents, Frank and Anicia, on the phone to request for a photo of the two of them together. They had no clue what it was for.

The next day both newspapers generously gave full-page spreads of my letter to them. One of them included a large photo of them as well. My parents were shocked when they saw the newspaper that day. Mom said that my dad was even moved to tears. 

The letter was so moving that many people cried. My parents received numerous phone calls and were stopped for many months after that so that they could talk to them about "that article."

I have only spoken to some people about the impact that that letter had on them. Some loved ones have told me that they wished they had the same perspective I did on being thankful instead of feeling as if their parents owed them. I feel sorry for those who have shared stories with me -- that they were or are still not close to their parents but so wished to be.

One of the main reasons why I wrote this book, I Know You Love Me, Mommy and Daddy, was to start encouraging thankfulness in the hearts of children for their parents. This book can do that, but it can also help adults to remember the sacrifices their parents made and the sweet times they shared with them.

Here is one of the online newspaper articles, "A Tribute to Wonderful Parents," that appeared on September 9, 2010 if you'd like to read it:

http://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/b8e9a818-1dfb-11e4-aedf-250bc8c9958e/

 

I decided to include the letter I wrote to both newspapers below:

If you were to see me today as a typically joyful person, you probably would have no idea about the many hardships and heartaches I’ve endured.

Despite having many experiences that were unfavorable, I am very grateful to the Lord for having lived them all. I thank the Creator for placing all those events in my path, and I thank Him for putting the perfect people in my life in those blocks of time.

After the Lord, I am greatly indebted to the parents who loved me beyond measure, Frank and Anicia Tomokane.

I have always wanted to thank my parents in one of the many books I’ve been working on or have yet to write, but writing what I am writing now comes with a sense of urgency. Waiting for those books is not necessary. Uplifting my dear parents, especially my father, is.

Dad,

Thank you for trusting me with so much and allowing me to flourish as a child. Thank you for teaching me about the love of truth and sound judgment. Thank you for all your hard work so that we could eat, be clothed, educated, and have shelter. Not only did you work hard so that we could have those simple things but also pushed yourself more so that we could have many fun family gatherings at the beach together or with other family members.

Thank you for telling me about your hardships as a child. It helped me to be stronger mentally and also have a more understanding heart. Learning about your rough, poor childhood transformed my life more than you know.

Your experiences encouraged me to “tough it out” and be more grateful about the simplest of things. When I was attending the Naval Academy and running so hard that I tasted blood in my throat, I thought of you. When I was injured from not knowing how to run properly and had to undergo treatment for a couple of months, I thought of you. I had to “ice” the bottom half of my legs in water so cold and painful that it made guys cry in front of me. When we were served food that many midshipmen were complaining about, I thought of you eating rice with coffee. My food always seemed like a feast compared to what you ate. People wondered how I could be so happy to eat everything that was served, and I would tell them that we were so blessed to have it. Whenever times seemed so tough there, I thought about your childhood. I thought about how hard you worked to go to college. I thought about how hard you worked when I was a child, and I thought about how hard you were working back on Saipan.

Thank you for being happy with me no matter what my grades were or what my pursuits were. You never pushed me to be anything I did not want to be. Seeing that you loved me no matter what—no matter what endeavor I chose to do—was a blessing to me. I knew that you loved me, a visionary child, no matter what I wanted to accomplish. I know that you love me now, your visionary adult daughter.

Thank you for your patience and willingness to help me when I was unable to drive when I worked on Saipan and when I was too pregnant to reach my steering wheel when Tim was deployed.

Thank you for working so hard on all my projects in Guam when I didn’t realize how ambitious I was getting while still very pregnant. You planted all those trees and battled large rocks just so that I could have my miniature orchard in my front yard. I remember you coming in the house extremely sore from all the yard work but still able to be cheerful and laugh with Heistheway, my excited toddler. Thank you for giving me many breaks and cooking many meals so that I could relax.

Thank you especially for staying with me until I gave birth to Pelaiah. When Tim had to suddenly deploy to Indonesia because of the earthquake and would not be with me for months or Pelaiah’s birth, I didn’t know how I was going to handle everything. You took care of mowing my yard so that we wouldn’t get kicked out of base housing with the strict base-housing yard rules. You also mowed so many families’ yards because their husbands were gone and they had many little ones to care for. Not only did you take care of mowing, trimming the limbs, and ensuring that we weren’t in trouble with our yards, but you did it with joy and without charge. Thank you for taking me to the birthing center and helping me take care of Heistheway as we waited for mom and Kai’s arrival that morning. I didn’t think that you would stay with me those many months that Tim was away because it was such a long time to ask you to be away from your own family on Saipan. Whenever others asked me who was going to be with me when I gave birth or who was to care for Heistheway I always told them that I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t have done all that I did without you, Dad.

Mom,

You have taught us to love people no matter how unlovable they can be. Whenever someone treated you poorly or treat us poorly, you taught me to be understanding of them because they might just be having a bad day or had a rough life for some reason. You didn’t let their bad attitude get to you. You just went about your merry way trying to bring happiness to other people’s lives around you.

Thank you for always being so excited about what we had to say and for making us feel as if we could do almost anything that we dreamed of doing, even “go to the moon and back.” Because of your amazing support and belief in us I felt confident enough to apply to places like JSA’s Stanford and Georgetown sessions and the U.S. Naval Academy. Because you believed in me, accomplishing so many feats throughout my childhood seemed possible.

I could write a book about you, thanking you for your unselfishness and contagious enthusiasm for life, but I must end this note now as I need to tend to precious little ones and my loving, godly husband.

I love you both and wish that we could do more for you during these uncertain times in Saipan. We continue to pray for you and look forward to seeing you soon. We love you all very much!

Grateful for you both,

Franicia Tomokane White
The Panhandle, Florida