Gift of grandparenthood | Inquirer Opinion
At Large

Gift of grandparenthood

I’ve always said grandchildren are the “interest” we earn on the capital we expend on our children.

But they don’t come interest-free. On top of having to tap all the experience—and I’d like to think the wisdom, too—we’ve gained from raising our children, we’ve also had to be extracreative and expand our energies, though at this age we can feel the years taking their toll. Suddenly, you find yourself panting as those little legs outrace you down the sidewalk. Having a toddler in the house means a whole multitude of things will come falling to the floor, which means in turn having to get down on your knees and creeping under tables, cabinets and beds to retrieve them.


And while in your younger years you thought nothing of picking up a small person and juggling all the wriggling and screaming that came with that creature, this time around simply bending to lift him is enough of a challenge. Recently turned two, our grandson has learned the futility of asking to be carried by the two old people with whom he shares a home. Instead, he has developed the habit of reaching for a hand and then tugging the person attached to the hand to follow him and hand him what he wants. When I came home with a walker after breaking my hip, an imminent danger was the grandson’s attempts to tug at the walker, threatening to send me crashing to the floor.

But let me tell you, all these physical challenges are forgotten once you hear the little voice call out: “Wowa!” It’s recognition and reward, not just a milestone in his development but also confirmation that you have a place in his life—with a title at that!


These days, his “gimmick” is to ignore everyone who fawns over him. In the morning, when I ask him to give me a “good morning” kiss, and when his yaya carries him over to me, he will turn his head away, wriggling out of her arms, and sometimes even kicking my hands away.

I chide him and pretend I’m hurt, but when I glance at him, I catch a furtive, knowing smile and the glimmer of naughtiness in his eyes. I know he’s playing games with me, and it tickles me to my bones.

The main difference between raising his father and raising him is the overwhelming presence of technology these days. He only has to catch a glimpse of any of our tablets or cell phones and he will grab at it, handing the device to the nearest adult to key in the code that will open the world of YouTube to him.

The rest is up to him. Already, he knows how to swipe to see the icons, and recognizes his favorites which he then taps. When bored with a video, he knows to turn to the menu for his choice and tap on the one that looks interesting. Already, we’ve sat through many a “Peppa Pig” episode, his favorite “Sesame Street” songs, and even the site of “Batibot,” a favorite of his parents’ generation and now winning over an entirely new generation.

Some “futurologists” claim that as technology takes over more and more parts of our lives, our bodies will evolve to meet the new different demands.

Human beings of tomorrow, we’re told, will have oversize thumbs because of the constant exercise they get on our devices. Their eyes will either weaken because of the constant need to read minuscule text, or grow bigger and wider because they’re forever fixed on those pixels in small screens.

They will also develop the “techie slouch,” their spines bent from constant glancing down at their phones. And their hearing will be affected after years of being blasted by loud music or deafening sound effects.


I often wonder what parenthood and grandparenthood will be like for my grandson. Will human interaction be replaced by relationships with cyber characters, information from books and print media replaced by fake news and unchecked rumors in social media?

I can only hope that memories of the time we spent with him will linger and continue to guide him as he navigates his way through the world. Meanwhile, we will gladly chase after him, picking up his toys and random discards, and sing our lullabies in celebration of the gift of grandparenthood.

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TAGS: At Large, grandparenthood, Grandparents, Inquirer Opinion, Rina Jimenez-David
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