Ok, so this post is kinda late in coming. Around six days late. I needed several days to put my thoughts in order so this post would come out the way I wanted it to.
I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my paternal grandmother. She’s ninety years old, and deaf as a doorknob. We had a simple dinner on the 24th, then after our pre-midnight nap, we had some cake from Purple Oven. (They’re the establishment that used to supply pastries to Starbucks.) We went to SM North EDSA for lunch and a “walk.” We were supposed to buy some things for her but halfway during the walk, she decided to postpone buying her stuff.
A few thoughts I’d like to share regarding my Yuletide with Grandma. (Maybe you will notice some similarities in your relationship with your grandparent?)
I’ve mentioned that she’s deaf. Extremely. She refuses to wear a hearing aide. At first she complained about lugging along a giant electronic box. Then when they came out with smaller and smaller versions through the years, she still refused to wear one. Her last two excuses were the contraptions were expensive (which they were), and that “she wasn’t that deaf” (which she is). Because she’s deaf, I have to shout at her to be heard. I don’t mean a bit or raising my voice, though that used to work till about two years ago. I mean really shouting as though she were my mortal enemy. And sometimes she still doesn’t get what I say. (Incidentally, if I had a peso every time somebody asked me why I shout at my grandmother, I’d be a rich man.)
She walks slowly. Very slowly. Her diminishing mobility, like her deafness, is due to her advanced age. She used to be a brisk walker so it’s kind of sad to see her hobbling along. (Of course, the fact that she still hobbles at her age is enough cause for me to thank God everyday.)
Apropos to the above, her eyesight is getting worse each year. Whenever we take walks, she would always insist that I walk about three or four feet in front of her. That way, she can observe me and follow my footsteps (literally) as we go along. She’d know if there were steps, ramps or raised areas ahead. The only exception is when we use the escalators. I’d stand beside her and sort of guide her leg in stepping on the first available tread. Same when disembarking. Honestly though, I feel kind of funny walking several feet ahead and occasionally looking back to see if she’s still there. It’s almost like I’m a mother duck. It’s also annoying because I’m not exactly a slow walker. Once, I forgot (shame, shame) she was with me. I got about eighty feet ahead of her when I realized my blunder. I went back and she was still plodding along. There werent’ that many people around so she could still make out a vague image of me in my black shirt. (See, black is beautiful in more ways than one.)
Incidentally, the few times I joked that maybe it was time to get her a wheelchair were met with annoyed looks.
Wheelchairs aren’t that bad, are they?
So my Grandma is deaf, slow and has bad eyesight. That didn’t stop me from enjoying our walk. Believe me, my Grandma can be the most annoying of people. Her age, her unbending will, and her infirmities make for one potentially annoying package. But maybe spending time with her is God’s way of telling me to slow down and smell the flowers. (Course, Grandma doesn’t smell like flowers. She smells more like…old people. That was a compliment, by the way.)
Who was it who said we should make the time to spend with our elders, because the time will come when they won’t be there anymore? Whoever he was, he wasn’t the village idiot. No, the honor of being the village idiot goes to the guy who coined the phrase, “The customer is always right.”
God bless my Grandma. (God bless everyone. – Tiny Tim)