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Love. Life.

The caretaker

/ 11:17 AM November 23, 2018
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Can you remember a time when you never wondered if your eyes ever missed out on the most important things?

Wake up at five in the morning. The uniform is already ironed. Food is readily served on the table. Everything is set. The student only needs to get dressed, take a bath and eat. However, she still arrives late at school often.

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The girl is not obliged to wash dishes nor wash clothes. In fact, she doesn’t have household chores. Her family is neither rich nor poor. She’s just so lucky to be pampered by her grandmother.

“Lola!” she exclaims, calling her grandmother.

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The child would ask where the things she was looking for are located. It became a habit whenever the same problem occurs. She asks and she is provided the answer. Days went on and on, until the girl turned into a teen who is not only lazy but also dependent. Almost everyday her lola gives her a litany.

One day, the worst news came, something she did not approve of, but does she have a choice? Of course, no. But whether the girl hated what fell upon them or not, she had to begin the process of growing up.

She learned how to cook rice and a lot more. She adapted to the changes little by little. Despite her adjustments, the scolding didn’t die down. Maybe it was meant to last forever, she thought. She would have to get used to it, and to the new order.

The grandmother’s effort to instill values in her appeared to go wasted, until one particular day. Exhausted and frustrated, the girl came home. Her mind was filled with thoughts of school work. Upon entering their house, she walked directly to the kitchen. The annoyance she was feeling all the more blew up because she did not like the dish prepared.

The spoiled brat that she is, she went straight to bed. She decided to sleep although her stomach was grumbling.

Her lola entered the room. The girl remained lying on the soft mattress.

“What are you doing there? Get up! The food is waiting,” her grandmother hissed.

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“I’ll just sleep” the girl answered.

After a short while her lola entered the room again.

“I bought food from the nearby store. Eat up,” she quickly said before going out.

The child did what she was told. She was more than pleased about what was served. With no further delay, she ate up.

“Can I eat this all?” she asked.

“Go on. You don’t even have to ask,” her grandmother curtly replied.

Despite what the girl said earlier, she left behind a small amount of food. Later on, she saw her lola eat it, with some rice on the plate.

The eyes of the girl landed at the sight of the old woman who was busy eating. What she saw tugged at her young heart.

Through all those years that passed before, she never appreciated her lola and the sacrifices she made. She didn’t see how it was hard for her lola to do the chores alone. She never cared how her lola’s back aches because of doing the laundry. She didn’t mind spending money carelessly when it was even hard for her lola to budget it. She disregarded all the times that her lola refused to eat the hotdogs so she could have them all.

She realized only then, at that moment, how ungrateful she has been whenever her lola asks small favors that upset her. She never bothered informing her lola ahead when she would come home late. How it worries her grandmother wondering about what time she would arrive. She always ignored how her lola took good care of her, since she was little.

It made her think. Whatever did she do to be loved this much?

That night, the girl’s narrow view widened. She suddenly became aware of the things she missed, particularly the feelings she didn’t welcome. From then on, she wanted to watch closely. She wanted to lend ears to everything her lola wants to say. It doesn’t matter anymore if it’s wholly criticism. She’s willing to let her lola correct her shortcomings.

But she did not want to be instantly affectionate. She and her lola do not have sweet tongues. Not even once did they exchange I-love-yous. But she wanted to make sure the words unspoken will be felt in actions.

The girl promised to stand by her lola’s side. She will for sure continue to grow up, and then come of age, but she will forever hold on to this old woman’s priceless love.

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Riolie Chris C. Salvacion of Davao City National High School is 16 years old, studying under a journalism program. She sees herself as a happy-go-lucky dreamer whose passion in writing has always empowered her, and also a believer in good things.

INQUIRER.net/Love.Life.

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TAGS: Davao, grandmothers, Indifference, lola, teenagers
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