One of my biggest fears when I was moving here almost a decade ago, was the fact that my children would be so far from my family, that they might not remember them.
In particular, I was most concerned about the relationship between my parents and my kids.
I always wanted my kids to have a really great relationship with my parents.
I had a wonderful relationship with my Nana. She lived with us while I was growing up and I loved going to her part of the house, laying on her plastic wrapped sofa and resting my head in her lap so she could scratch my back while we watched her “programs.” My Nana’s programs consisted of the soap operas which would fill her afternoons before she would go downstairs to see what was being cooked up for dinner by our live in housekeeper.
My Nana always had a stash of Spearmint Life Savers in her bag, and an address book that was brimming with folded papers held together by multiple rubber bands encircling the folded paper mess. Nana smelled like powder and Jean Nate, and if I was lucky, she would share Hershey Kisses with me too. Her hands were baby soft, and often times if she wasn’t scratching my back, I was holding her hand, playing with the soft pads of her fingertips.
I would help her put her contact lenses in by sitting on the floor in front of her folding table, and guiding her fingers so each lens would be properly placed over her pupil. I would hold up the mirror for her, and then when she needed me to, I would even put her drops in her eyes when her lenses would bother her.
Having a housekeeper present was not something that my Nana was used to, coming of age during The Great Depression, but because my mom worked, we always had a helper who could manage the daily grind at home and get us on the school bus while my mom and dad brought home the bacon. When our yaya/housekeeper was hard on me, I would seek refuge behind my nana’s pant legs and house coat. She always wore this red and blue housecoat when she came downstairs to work in the kitchen.
There are little things that I remember about my grandma…like those Hershey Kisses, the way she smelled powdery fresh, and the way she would dip her saltines in her afternoon tea. Then there are big things, like how she cried when I got spanked for the first time because she didn’t agree with my punishment. I pushed my baby brother down in the kiddie pool, and of course, I got into really big trouble with my dad. I was sent to bed without dinner, but my mom and my nana came up with a fried egg and some buttered toast because they couldn’t imagine me going to bed hungry.
Thankfully, moving to Manila wasn’t as bleak as I previously thought it would be for my children’s relationship with my parents. In fact, I’m so very pleased with how close my kids are to my parents. Gelli often looks for Mama and actually asks to call her, while my kids enjoy quality time with my parents either sleeping over their condo, or when they come and visit us here in our home.
Even if my parents aren’t always here in Manila with us, the advancement of technology, iPhones, and the internet, provide my kids the opportunity to see their grandparents whenever they are missing them. We can all see each other face to face with the use of apps, Face Time, and built in webcams.
I know my mom was worried too! She thought that since she and my dad hadn’t returned in more than a year to Manila, that Gelli might forget them. Thankfully, her fears were never realized. When Mom and Dad arrived, Gelli took one look at them, ran towards them and hugged them both. I actually saw a wave of relief wash over my mom’s face, as she enveloped Gelli with hugs and kisses, just the way I remember my Nana used to hug and kiss me.
My parents don’t stay with us, but they are close enough that we can see each other every day. Even just the other week, when my mom heard how sick I was when I was down with a fever, the very next day she was at our house, with chicken soup, and reinforcements like nobody’s business.
Simply because, that’s what moms do.
And Grandmas too.
Grandparents Day at TLA is just one of the many programs that the teachers and staff put together all throughout the year which Nino and I look forward to. My mom put it on her calendar the moment I let her know we would be celebrating their special day. We were all so excited (and maybe even a little nervous) to see the kids dance and put on their performance… (as long as no one was going to do any stage diving!!!)
And the kids did a great job! For the most part, no one tried to jump off the stage 🙂 Almost everyone was able to participate in the dance routine, no one cried, and no one threw up! HOORAY FOR TODDLERS graduating to Juniors who will soon be Seniors before we even know it!
You knew how lonely we would become one day
When our children would all grow up, get married and move away,
So you gave us GRANDCHILDREN to visit our lonely nest
Bringing youth back into our lives and our later years to bless.
Bless them and watch over them,
safe and happy may they be.
Thank you for my GRANDKIDS, Lord they mean so much to me.
Things I loved about the day:
- Each set of Grandparents had reserved seating 🙂 No one was fighting to seats to see their apo.
- Each set of Grandparents got to take home an original work of art by their apo.
- Gelli didn’t hurt anyone. (She’s a little rough lately, because she has two older brothers.)
- Even some of the Grandparents put on their own dance number.
- I have video documenting the whole thing.
- The details with which TLA prepares most every celebration were clear and present.
Things I didn’t love about the day.
- It was the last activity in a long weekend that was jam packed. This meant that I was not at my best. I was recovering from being sick, hosting an event, and attending two others from the night before. I WAS EXHAUSTED.
- Nino and I had to be in two different places at once. That meant, I only had one phone camera to shoot with. So, I don’t have photos 🙁 I only have video 🙁 (And I’m confused why this video is so blurry?)
- I didn’t even get a photo of Gelli with her classmates 🙁 (I was just so darned tired at the end of it all that I couldn’t bring myself to bring Gelli back to the classroom so we could try and get all the kids to pose.)
Thank goodness, I have some co parents who were quick to snap photos!
Tell me these kids aren’t the cutest?
I’m not sure if there are lots of other preschools which put on programs like this. It certainly wasn’t a requirement for me when I was deciding on Gelli’s schooling, however, it is something I really do look forward to as a parent because these are the moments that memories are made of…from the videos and the photos, Gelli will know that her grandparents are present and excited to watch her grow.
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Peter A. Ressa says
Michelle, I loved this post! Your comments about Nana brought tears to my eyes.