by BCBP Editor

By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila

September 8, Sunday, was Grandparents Day, and some of our grandchildren and our 3 great grandchildren treated us to a fiesta lunch at the NamNam Restaurant, Glorietta, Makati. What fun we all had enjoying each other and the fusion Filipino fare! (This picture is of our 3 great grandchildren several days later having a kids’ feast at home.)
apo at lunch
In the afternoon at home I took some personal time out to reflect on my role as a grandmother. Here are some of my thoughts.

Being a lola (we have 12 grandchildren and 3 apo sa tuhod) is not about sitting down and “teaching” my grandchildren lessons. To me being a lola is simply sharing my time with the younger apo, listening to the stories of their adventures and delighting with them in their discoveries of the softness of a puppy’s ear, the delicate fragrance of a newly opened blossom, and the sound of the sea echoing inside a sea shell. Oftentimes seeing ordinary things through the eyes of a child opens my soul’s eyes to the wonders of life that I have overlooked, and my day suddenly takes on a heaven-sent luminosity.

Our apo love to hear my stories as well, about how I grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont. They marvel at the difference in their childhood and mine, as well as how much children are alike, no matter where they grow up. Time and weather permitting, we take walks together, we sing songs and read stories together, we laugh and cry together. Just being there for them while they are playing, reading, or napping is a blessing, a prayer of presence.

As the youngsters grow and bloom into teenagers, our times together become ‘by appointment only’, fitting quality time in between their studies, sports activities, gimmicks with their barkada, and family bonding times. I listen to their struggles with teenage angst, laugh with them at whatever hits them with silliness at that moment, greet their boyfriends, help them with their shopping (they shop while I sit down and watch them debate over which t-shirt makes the better statement) and treat them to merienda.

Four of our apo have joined the workforce. I never cease to marvel at the fresh outlook and energy they bring each day to work. They are helping me advance in my computer knowledge and give me tips on better understanding the NOW generation, even as I answer questions and help them deal with business situations and relationships.

Hopefully and regardless of their age level, during the time we spend together (which, by the way, is usually too short), I am able to pass on to them values and attitudes toward life, maybe not by what I say, but more importantly through what I do. Value systems are not so much taught as they are modeled through our lives.

Being a lola doesn’t only mean that age is catching up on me. Remaining young at heart and in love with life is what counts! Being a grandparent is a celebration of life at its best!

Abraham Lincoln said it right: “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

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