You might wonder who Nick is. His full name is Nicholas Radley, married to my youngest daughter, Daylinda Jr. And yes, he’s American.
My daughter was an exchange visitor to the United States, working as a speech pathologist. She was assigned to a government school in California where Nick Radley was the assistant school principal at the time. They met and eventually fell in love.
A couple of years after she began working in the United States, I got a call from my daughter to ask how her dad (he was still alive at the time, though afflicted with Parkinson’s disease) and I were doing. I could sense some reluctance in her voice; her boyfriend, Nick, wanted to talk with me. On the other end of the long-distance call came an American voice that said: “Tita, I want Girlie to be my wife!” (Girlie is Daylinda Jr.’s pet name.)
Taken aback by such a short and direct declaration of an offer to marry my daughter, I was choked with emotion. I couldn’t find the words to answer, and managed only a whisper: “Please, let’s have more time.”
I have four daughters; the three older ones are happily married to Filipino husbands. I never dreamed my youngest would marry a foreigner. I am scared of divorce. Girlie countered my admonition by saying that separation and annulment happen even to the best of Filipino couples.
Love triumphed. The wedding was set, and it was in a Catholic church in Tagaytay. Nick is Catholic and so is his whole family. And we are, too. The reception venue was in Tagaytay Highlands.
My apprehensions about my daughter marrying a foreigner vanished upon seeing the American groom’s family. His maternal and paternal grandparents arrived, and they were married to the same person in their sunset years. His parents, too. They were all, amazingly, high school sweethearts! About 20 of them from the groom’s side were in attendance. Suddenly, I felt guilty about prejudging them, because they were all so sweet and warm.
Fifteen years on after the wedding, Nick Radley has turned out to be one of the best and coolest persons I’ve ever met. I feel loved and revered by him, just like my three other Filipino sons-in-law. Their two daughters, Gabby (named after my late husband) and Malea, are absolutely raised well with good values. Girlie instilled in them love of family and to always embrace their Filipino roots.
Love, after all, is universal. It is blind to race, age and gender. Nick has proven it with his unconditional love for my daughter and for all of us in the family.
Now a septuagenarian grandma to 18 beautiful grandchildren and lately to a great-granddaughter, Rielle, I can’t stop thanking the Almighty for my treasures — my family, the ones that matter most.
Three years from now, I will turn octogenarian. There are times I wish my husband were alive so both of us could savor the joys and blessings of grandparenthood. But we can’t have it all. The bottom line is accepting and embracing with gratefulness what we have. Not all live up to their 70s and 80s. And looking at my children becoming great and responsible parents to their own children, I can say I did a good job after all.
It’s not about leaving a legacy of material things, but a legacy of love. And life goes on.
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Daylinda Viacrucis Quiroz, 76, from Biñan City, Laguna, savors every moment with her grandchildren.
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