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Grandkids make grandparents happy

/ 04:10 AM September 22, 2019

Grandparents’ Day this year passed without much fanfare, except for some small billboards and posters in department stores reminding the public of the occasion.

As a grandfather to 17 grandchildren and two apo sa tuhod, I do not feel bad about the silent observance of Grandparents’ Day. After all, my wife Zeny and I have fulfilled our duties not only to our eight children, but also to our grandchildren.

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One example: We were able to send a 2-year-old grandson, Luigi, for heart surgery at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in New Jersey, USA, to return some heart blood vessels to their rightful place. The surgery was pro bono, but we raised all the other expenses for him and his parents.

There are many other deeds of love for grandchildren. It is said that grandparents dote and devote more care and attention to their apo to make up for the missed opportunities they had with their own children.

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Grandchildren, on the other hand, simply make their lolo and  lola  happy, from the time they take those first few steps on their own, to the first “dada” and “mama” they utter as they start to communicate.

One time, I was rushing to meet the deadline for the printing of a booklet titled “Have You Prepared Yourself for the Future?” the subject matter of which dealt with career opportunities in the insurance business.

The technical aspects of the manuscript were prepared by veteran insurance man Reynaldo A. de Dios, who heads a risk-management consultancy firm bearing his name (himself over 90 years old); the rest of the manuscript was my responsibility, and my job was to make it more attractive to and digestible by college students. (This booklet, by the way, has been registered with the Copyright Office and is now being used as reference by some colleges.)

I was to supply the appropriate illustrations to the text to create more impact. Since my grandchildren are more adept in hi-tech communication, I challenged them to create cover designs, illustrations of various types of insurance coverage and arrangement of the text, with guides to proper sequences and an attractive layout. And I gave them a deadline.

Before deadline time, they called me to a meeting and presented the whole package, complete with layout from front cover to back cover.

Bianca, who graduated from De La Salle’s College of St. Benilde and who’s been dabbling in calligraphy even as a student, designed the cover. It showed a happy group of new graduates throwing their caps into the air.

Miguel, who works at the SMDC design department, created the appropriate illustrations, while Inna and Trixie coordinated the work of everyone.

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And Eunice, a licensed interior designer who is connected with an outfit that will compete in Europe in an interior design contest, did the layout from cover to cover, which the printer found very easy to follow.

It was a case of grandchildren giving back their time and talent, and making their lolo very happy.

Another case of an apo making me very happy was when Andrea, residing in California, bought a book for me and wrote in her dedication: “From your favorite apo — Andrea.”

What I noted especially gladdening was that she was so young at that time, maybe 13, and yet was so thoughtful. The phrase “from your favorite apo” raised a lot of protest from other grandkids here in the Philippines, who each claimed they were our favorite  apo and even cited reasons for it.

Speaking of favorite, our youngest apo Carmela, also residing in California, has a favorite question when we converse via Viber. The first question she asks all the time is, “Where is Mama?” Carmela’s favorite grandparent is her Lola Zeny, whom she calls Mama. Zeny took care of Carmela as a baby because Carmela’s mother Sherryl is working as a dietician in a big hospital, and Carmela’s dad Marlo is a VP at Bank of America, so my wife and I doubled as caretakers whenever we were in California.

Carmela and Andrea’s attachment to us, even if they are very far from us, makes us grandparents doubly happy. Really, grandchildren make grandparents very happy!

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Mafeo R. Vibal is a lawyer who retired from the House of Representatives after 24 years. He and his wife are members of Couples for Christ. Now 86 years old, he is vice president-external affairs of the Philippine Association of Retired Persons and continues his advocacy for seniors’ welfare at congressional hearings on bills. He is also a consultant on legislative matters, and author of the book “How Bills Become Philippine Laws.”

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