Young Blood

My illiterate Lola

My grandmother whom I call “Mama Pida” is my favorite person in the world.

She can’t read or write.


She wishes she could, though, and enjoy the things I do. Then she’d also read the whole day, because sewing hurts her eyes and fingers.

I remember when I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t attend PTA and barangay meetings. She would only sit and listen anyway. Other than my aunts, she would send me instead, even if I was too young.


I realized later on that this was because she didn’t want people to discover her illiteracy, as those events required her to sign attendance sheets.

I remember when she was forced to learn how to sign, as her signature was needed for her own senior citizen ID. She asked me and my older cousin to teach her. She was so happy when she finally learned to scribble her name.

Her ignorance and limited understanding of many things used to annoy me. I hated it when she’d approach me and ask silly questions.

She’s not perfect, and her imperfections, I eventually noticed, came from her lack of opportunities in life. Who am I to take it against her when it wasn’t her fault?

Despite that, she’s the most loving, caring, generous and hardworking person I know.

She’s good at planting and sewing with her hands. She cooks the best spicy adobo. She’s creative, and still works in the rice fields at 65.

She’s mentally strong and generous. She’s always grateful and easy to please.


She makes me feel safe.

Her heart more than makes up for what she lacks. I’m blessed I grew up with her. I think I’ve learned more from her than I would ever have elsewhere. Through her, I saw that the heart shines the brightest.

* * *

Meanne M. Valenzuela, 29, is a marketing professional.

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TAGS: Meanne M. Valenzuela, remembering grandmother, Young Blood
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