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On being a grandfather

More than a year ago, I became a grandfather. Few events in one’s life can rival the feeling of being a lolo. It’s right up there with the time I married the love of my life, Cynthia, and the birth of my children, Paolo, Mark, and Camille.

I became a lolo when we welcomed our granddaughter, Emma Therese. Three months later it became a bundle of joy with the birth of Tristan. Now, I understand the smile in the faces of grandparents whenever I see them with their apos.

This is something that only grandparents can understand. It’s inexplicable joy.

Imagine how exhausted you are because of a week-long work stress and how a simple smile, an unintelligible syllable, a funny giggle, or a perplexed look from your apo can make all of that go away.

They say that the joy of becoming a grandparent comes with the opportunity to have fun with them and spoil them without having the responsibility and accountability of parents. This is partly true.

It’s an interesting relationship because my apos represent the future what with their full lives still ahead of them while I have had the benefit of living my life to the fullest already.

I enjoy being with Tristan and Emma Therese. I fondly call Emma “Digang” because she is very spunky like our President Digong. I use to call Tristan “Panda” because he sleeps a lot! But now we call him “Titan” because that is how “Digang” lovingly pronounce “Tristan.” I usually see them every Sunday which is our family bonding time.

We see to it that we gather as a family despite our busy schedules. Cynthia is working hard in the Senate, Mark is manning the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH), while Camille and Paolo are busy with running our business.

We would always enjoy a Sunday lunch together. This is my time to play with my apos. We even bond with them when we go abroad. I think it is very important to spend time with family and loved ones. In the middle of one’s work, you cannot lose sight of the reason why you are doing what you are doing – your family’s well-being.

This, I believe, is one of my most significant achievement as a person – that I have a loving family, and have brought up three wonderful children. And I hope to give the same happiness to my grandchildren.

I urge you, my dear readers, to use this Lenten season to renew your relationship with God and at the same time use the time to strengthen the bond with your family and loved ones. This season should give all of us the opportunity to pause and take stock of what we have done so far.

The Lenten break should give us time not just to rest our weary bodies but to renew our spirits. And there is no rejuvenation like being with loved ones and creating beautiful memories with them.

Becoming a grandfather also gave me the opportunity to build a new level of relationship with my daughter and my son.

Now, we are not just father and son or father and daughter. I can communicate with them parent to parent. With Paolo, I also have a different level of personal relationship other than father-son as he has successfully managed our family business for some time now.

I do not dictate to them how to raise their children. Of course I give them advice once in awhile, but I trust them enough to know that they have the proper values to pass on to their own children. I am confident my children will raise beautiful and successful children of their own.
Our grandchildren represent life. They embody the future. I am just so thankful to the Lord that He has kept me here to enjoy this amazing experience.

I read somewhere that a recent study by European scientists revealed that grandparents who look after their grandchildren can add five years to their life span. I definitely look forward to more years added to my life!

(For coments/feedback email o:mbv secretariat @gmail or visit www.mannyvillar.com.ph.) (Senator Manny Villar)