By Yay Padua-Olmedo
Senior folks’ daily lives may easily flat-line especially if all their kids have left home; worse, if they choose to live overseas.
Empty-nesters. That’s what my husband and I have been these recent years.
Jack’s extended employment after reaching 60 and my being busy with university teaching, writing and holding seminars have of course helped quench our once-in-a-while longing for them, especially our apos (grandkids).
Our children of course have their own lives and we have always encouraged them to pray and pursue God’s direction for them.
So here we are visiting our son’s family in San Diego (U.S.A.) which Carlo and his wife Opal have chosen to call home.
I was of course most excited to bond with their daughter Natalie again. Lola Yay was present two and a half years ago when she was born; so I was awe-struck seeing her all so smart and looking like a little lady―her hair in a bob and with full bangs.
Natalie regales us with her endless singing, her favorite song being “Let It Go” from the animated movie Frozen―which she’s watched tirelessly. Just the other day, she sang “Jesus Loves Me” for my friend Tisha on Yahoo Messenger.
From being Frozen’s Anna, she becomes Princess Sophia the next minute; then builds a palace of blocks the next; afterwards shapes a dress with her play dough, or prepares Minnie the mouse for skating.
She even knows how to search for (parent-allowed) sites on YouTube―and stay really focused on the lesson at hand. Curious about almost everything, she’d constantly ask, “Let me check it out.”
We’re glad to be here this season of our lives. Strengthening ties with our loved ones is God-ordained.
After He rose from the dead and before He went back to His Father in heaven, Jesus said (Acts 1:8): ” But ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Our family is our “Jerusalem,” so we must take every opportunity to minister to them while we have the strength―no matter how far they are.
We had initial misgivings about spending for this trip. As retirees, we should set aside enough for emergency needs. But we decided to go anyway, believing that as long as we are within God’s will, we will be blessed.
Don’t be caught flat-footed or comatose-bound wishing. If you need to fly to be with a loved one, then fly. “Just do it!” says Nike.
In my book, “Grandparenting: Happiness and Hard Work,” I recalled the times I visited my daughter’s family in Australia:
“Who could pin a peso value to bonding times with grandkids? Like giving the newborn (Charlize) her bath, reading to and playing cars and planes with Joaqui who was three years old then.
“I’ve always been Sydney-bound―looking forward to the next visit as if it were genuine missionary work (which I believe it is)… Pre-school or primary school age is when you can hug and cuddle them most―a pretty impressionable stage too.
“Come to think of it, lolas and lolos have managed to glue together Filipino families in spite of our diaspora. Where Pinoy families are, grandparents are too, keeping households intact, taking care of the babies, and preserving and passing on the best of Filipino values especially where popular culture counters their faith.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
“Grandparents patiently keeping their children’s households abroad must stash a lot of this fruit in their hearts.”