Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Grandparenthood

Posted on February 07, 2016 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 7, 2016 – 12:00am

This is my 11th year as a grandfather. I only have one grandchild so far. I wish my kids would hurry up and make me some more. I am in my mid-60s and I want to spend more time with their children. But alas, as of now, there are no signs I will have another grandchild, at least within the next nine months.

My only grandchild is Ananda. She is generally a delight to be with. Sometimes she is a worry. I will get to that later.

Ever since she was born, I have been trying to be a grandpa. When she was a toddler, l enjoyed having her close by, carrying her and holding her stretched-out right hand while leading her in a dance.

She grew up mostly in the company of adults — her mom, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. She spent her first eight years with us. She has always been inquisitive, lively and very bright. Often, I would catch her literally having “aha” moments as she made sense of things around her.

When she began to grow up and have real conversations, I enjoyed just sitting with her, giving serious, accurate and sometimes absurd answers and explanations to her many questions. I never tired of answering her queries. Even with my own kids, I never ignored their questions because I wanted them to love learning.

During long train rides in Sydney, I would whisper in her ear that I was actually the one controlling the train with my mind. It was our secret. Of course I knew the stops the train took and when we would be near a station, I would “predict” it by closing my eyes and pretending to concentrate on stopping the train.

Of course she knew that I was joking her but she always tried to put one over me by asking tough questions to prove I was “lying.”

At another time, I talked to her “seriously” about Miss Peralejo, (a teacher’s name that I made up) who had “reported” to me some serious behavioral problems she was having in school. She, of course, denied she even had a teacher by that name. I would answer that Peralejo was the “real” name of her teacher, but she used an alias in school. She would then ask me what Miss Peralejo had reported.

I would invent things and say that the teacher reported that Ananda tried to burn the school and shave her classmate’s head. She would laugh with delight as she enjoyed my invented stories while arguing to prove me wrong.

My grandfather did the same with me and my siblings when we were growing up. He would say things that were incredulously funny, like pretending that the only parts of his body that could not handle a tickle were his thumbs. He also told us about a man who wore his suspenders so tight, his feet could not touch the ground. My Lolo was a great guy.

Ananda is an amazing child. I say this not because she is my granddaughter but because she is really amazing. Because of her adoration of K-Pop, she started picking up Korean phrases and is now actively learning the language by herself. She often watches Korean game shows, musicals and comedy programs so that she now knows a lot of Korean words and can speak the language in simple conversation. She has an incredible determination to learn things Korean. She has also made friends with some of her Korean neighbors in the condo building she lives in.

Ananda is growing up so fast. She is quite an achiever in school. She likes joining school clubs and activities. Because of this, she goes to school quite early in the morning even if her classes are still in the afternoon. This often wreaks havoc with the car schedule since she always ends up calling her Lolo to send the car!

Like all my kids, she is a reader. Her vocabulary is extraordinarily wide. She also likes to argue a lot and will hardly take “no” as a final answer. She is a sharp negotiator. At times, she can be sassy. Luckily, her Lola Lydia does not hesitate to put her in her place when needed, even if she spoils her a lot. Her Lolo is only strict with her when it comes to spending.

Ananda is also very nurturing. She automatically becomes an “ate” to younger kids. She makes sure that no one is left behind, everyone gets their fair share of toys and goodies, and that everyone is okay and attended to. She is a born leader. She stands up for younger kids who are bullied. She has empathy for others and that makes us very proud of her.

Grandchildren grow up too fast. Soon, I will not be as important to her as I would like to be. Her world will change and new people will seem more important. But I am determined to continue playing a vital role in her life. I would like her to remember me as a grown-up man she could have fun with, and someone who gave her a sense of awe about life and the world. I once read what someone wrote about a grandfather being “someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart.” I hope somehow that I would be remembered as such!

My hair has already turned white. I still have to work more on the gold in my heart.

1 to “Grandparenthood”

  1. Carmen Rosales says:

    Sounds like she’s a very smart girl just like her Lolo Jim…



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