So grand!

By Jing Villamil


THEY were the new-born, the toddler, the pre-school, grader and high school student, the binatilyo and dalagita, the binata and dalaga, the proud groom and the blushing bride, the mother nursing, caring for and teaching her child, the father off to the daily grind.

They were not born old. The grands were once young, younger. Then, time nudged them on.

At 60 years and past, they would have seen all, if not most, of their children settled unto married, familial or singular bliss. Or unbliss! And if disease or accident had not claimed them early, and if life’s challenges had not yet beaten them to a pulp . . . the grands would be crossing over gracefully to the world of the pensionado.

Into the federation of senior citizens! Through which a member gets to enjoy unimaginable highs still out of reach to the sprightly below-60s. Which shall include not-so simple pleasures such as reduced air, sea and land transpo fares, discounted restaurant, medicine, hospital bills. Free movies and birthday cakes! And which nowadays, one does not have to act so bitchy to insist on being availed of right, fast and courteous!

Of course, let us not take for granted the delicious emotional reward of being the last word to settle issues. It elevates the grand to the highest level of an arbiter, a judge of the court of appeals, a sage – the wise old man or lady of the house! The only ones with the privilege to boom out The Voice, and to quiet any protest with the power of The Stare! A Grand Rising to the occasion!

The rationale behind might be that the Filipino family still retains the matriarchal disguised as patriarchal society (or vice versa) of the pre-American Occupation. The aged bones may be weak, the muscles may have turned flaccid, the eyes blurry, the hearing hard; but the will . . . the Will! It has not yet been written! And the land/s had not yet been transferred to the heirs’ names. So there!

Happy are those whose foresight prepared them for any eventualities. They shall rest on the couch and comfort of their savings, pensions, investments (real estate, business or in-kind, the latter to include school-sponsored apo or relative – kind nga, e)!

But sad are they whose foresight is only as far as their noses. Their “pagtatabi” plans for their ageing tomorrows could not even get a headstart; there is just none to spare. And sadder are they who know naman the need to prepare for their old age, but their child is always more needy or hungry or more sick than well, though this child is well past forty!

Reality starts, then startles when white roots-out the grays and the very rare blacks. By then, it is way too late.

Good, if the children were soaked and raised on tried old values, like thoroughly kneaded dough or the finest wine. Indeed, pensionado or not, the commandment “Honor thy father and thy mother” shall be done to the parents, to the grandparents. And extended to all elderlies who happen to be hanging around.

The Filipinos are known to be, together with the Chinese and the Japanese, the most “magalang at mapagmahal sa nakatatanda” among Asian nations. We not only love, care, respect our grands. We revere them!

Laki mi, Bai mi – manuras kayo lanang na lima, man-arawian kayo no nayari, ditan kayo labat ed abong, man-mask tan man-shield kayo balet no onpaway! Akin a? Ta inaro mi kayo. Stay safe from Covid-19! Stay with us longer!

Happy Grandparents’ Day!

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