My Nana lived with us when I was growing up.
She was a strong woman born in the early 1900’s.
She had five children who all became successful in raising their own families.
I didn’t know my paternal grandfather. Unfortunately, he passed away before I was born.
My Lola is another strong woman who just celebrated her 99th birthday here in Manila. In fact, both of these women were powerhouses and women of change.
They did not let society define them, nor did they let the trials that they faced knock them down.
I didn’t meet my maternal grandfather until I was much older, but when I did, it was unfortunate that he was well on in his years.
But my relationships with both my grandmothers has taught me a lot about life, love, picking yourself up after you fall, and having faith in God.
This is why I wanted to write this post.
Grandparents can play an important role in the childrearing years as well.
Of course, they are not as important as a child’s parents, but much in the same way we say it takes a village, grandparents provide support and stability, and can even pick up the slack for us parents, when we need it.
As my parents are preparing to return to the United States, I find myself reflective.
To be honest, I started this post 6 months ago, and have been waiting to finish it up with my thoughts that will tie it all together. Sometimes, it’s like that. I have all these thoughts that I want to share, but then am not sure how to tie it all together so that it makes sense and can (dare I say) enrich someone else’s life by reading it. I take pride in what I share here on the blog, and I also want it to be worthy of the time you take to read it.
In fact, it’s perfect timing that I should be able to tie it all together now, because in our couples’ d-group meeting for the week, we are talking about the legacy we leave.
Luckily the inspiration came to be again this morning to revisit these thoughts.
I reflect on the fact that my almost 100 year old Lola just passed away. Of course, during the funeral, all of us thought back on the lessons we learned from her and how her life was an example that we could follow.
I also reflect on the relationship that my parents have with my children.
My kids LOVE their Mama and Papa. Their Mama and Papa are a constant source of strength, love and support in their lives. My kids spend time with my parents in both real and meaningful ways. They have conversations where values and morals can be passed down BEYOND the fluff. Beyond the superficial. Beyond the masks.
Whether it is sleepovers, or my parents taking the kids out to lunch. Simple weekends away, or time with the whole family spent over Sunday lunch or dinner, I am grateful my kids KNOW my parents. They listen to the stories my father shares of his own childhood, and they are blessed with the gift of time that they spend together. They experience first hand the generosity of my mother and know that Mama shares with them because she wants to. There are no strings attached.
Last year, Nino and I attended the 2be1 Couples’ Retreat of CCF. We learned so much more about how we can thrive as a couple, and even more about how we can grow closer to each other by bringing Jesus into the center of our lives and into the center of our marriage.
It was a pivotal point in both of our lives and it is largely due to the guidance, advice, and sharing of so many of the couples that facilitated the retreat.
Our friends, Betty and Wisdom, invited us on this retreat before, but as God works his magic, this was just the right time for us to be able to incorporate what we have learned in our lives as we stand in this photo taken on the last night night of the retreat.
I hope and pray that one day, I will be called Nana by my children’s children.
What a gift that would be!
Of course, it’s not something I’m looking forward to happening right now. My kids are still young and they have not finished their basic education. Our kids span in age from 18 to 6 years old, so we have plenty of time to settle into the role we hope to play in the future.
While we were attending all the different talks and workshops as a couple during the 2BE1 Couples’ Retreat, both Nino and I were taking notes. We took notes on our phones and in our notebooks that were provided, not just so we could learn, but so that we could really take in the knowledge that was being imparted to us and apply it in our lives and our marriage, and hopefully, one day, God willing, in our grandparenting as well.
So much of it was easy to digest.
Wait, let me rephrase that.
The principles given us were simple.
However, simple does not mean easy.
I’m sure that together, Nino and I can continue to work on our marriage keeping these ideals in mind for our family, and our relationship. But these simple ways to apply what we are learning about our faith, is not always easy.
Pastor Peter Tan-Chi Sr. closed our weekend out with one last talk on Grandparenting. As he and Deona are grandparents now to 19 grandchildren, I believe that they have a pretty good grasp on some of the ideals and values that they shared.
Have you heard of this saying?
“With age comes wisdom and experience.”
This is why I cherish the moments that my children spend with their grandparents.
The time my parents invest with my kids involve memories that I am sure, Gia, Miguel, Diego, and Gelli, will cling to long after I am gone.
As parents, we know that we have a huge responsibility in raising our kids properly. We know that we must teach our kids ways in faith, common decency, and respect. We don’t just teach them to respect others, we also lay the groundwork for how they will respect themselves, and take pride in all they do.
When our children are old enough to leave the nest, I have also shared how important it is (FOR ME) to instill roots and wings in each of my kids. I want them to know that they can fly, but I also want them to know that they can come home any time they need me or Nino.
But our job is not done when they find their partners and start living their own lives separate from us. In fact, our job continues as positive role models to our grandchildren as well.
If I take what Pastor Peter shared seriously during the last workshop of our retreat, I know that Nino and I will need to continuously work on ourselves, strengthen our faith, and provide the examples for our children (and their children) to become conscientious members of an inclusive society where they continue to contribute to the good for all.
I went back to my notes, from the 2BE1 weekend, not only for this post, but because this week, we also spoke about the legacy that we are leaving for our children. The legacy that involves our faith, and our intimate relationship with God. The legacy that we want our children to see us live, and not just preach, as their parents.
Here are some of the key points from that last talk to what was a pivotal weekend not only in our marriage, but also in our faith:
- Our children are our legacy, and that legacy begins with parenting. We parent our children, they parent their children, and if we are lucky, we have the gift of grandparenting their children.
- Have perspective. They can see further.
- Have a better crap detector. They see dangers ahead. They don’t make impulsive decisions.
- They are not intimidated by others. Rich people don’t impress them. Powerful people don’t intimidate them. Popular people don’t make them jealous.
- They are able to replace knowledge with wisdom because of their age and experiences.
- Many of them have custodian responsibilities.
- Grandchildren are more spiritually receptive to biblical truth when they are still young.
- Grandchildren will remember what they do for them.
- Grandchildren love and accept them.
- They are providing more financial assistance today than ever before.
So, if I take what I have learned from my own grandparents, and I couple that with what my kids are learning from my parents, and combine that with the teachings of Pastor Peter from our 2Be1 weekend, I know that the task ahead of Nino and me is simple.
By no means, is it easy. Because growing in our faith is not easy. It’s a journey where there is continuous learning, sacrifice, sometimes, heart ache and most definitely, growth.
Growth in our faith that for Him, it is all worth it, because the legacy we leave to our children has nothing to do with a house and lot, it is in the task of bringing not only our children, but our grandchildren with us to heaven.