“A grandmother’s love feels like nobody else’s,” an anonymous writer aptly said. This could not be truer in my life. Having a loving and caring grandmother is one of my life’s greatest blessings.
The Filipino family has always had a grandmother who, along with the parents, has excitedly and eagerly taken care of their new apo. A self-confessed “lola’s boy,” some of my fondest childhood memories were shaped by the reassuring presence of my loving grandmother who has been ever-present from my earliest known memory. From the time she raised me—together with my mom—after my parents separated, my lola has generously provided for the needs of the family’s very first grandson (admittedly, to the point of spoiling), patiently took care of her apo despite the needless tantrums, and selflessly gave herself to caring for me as if nobody else in the world was left to be loved and cared for.
When I entered grade one as one of the youngest enrollees in our grade school, my grandmother took on the responsibility of being my yaya, as the young me would vehemently refuse to go to school at such a young age. Forced to enter the big school with classmates two years older than my age, I felt reassured by her mere presence. Her self-sacrifice taught me one thing: grandmothers are indeed one of God’s precious gifts.
Looking back, I have nothing but gratitude to the one who has helped make me whole and has filled in the gap of living in a broken family. With God on one hand and my grandmother on the other, my life has turned out for the better because of the valuable life lessons I learned from my greatest mentor—my lola. From the deep reverence for the Word of God instilled by our home Bible studies to the very first Sunday school at church, my faith was a gift passed on from a lola who had unwavering faith in God.
My grandmother is a superwoman. She juggled multiple tasks—running her business, managing the home, and taking care of the family—with gusto and grace. My love for work and making every bit of time productive were developed because of my firsthand experience of my grandmother’s hard work, diligence, and unparalleled work ethic. She would wake up as early as 4 a.m. to prepare food, iron the school uniforms, clean the house, go to the market, and be home just after the sun rises.
She loves extreme rides! From Splash Island’s Magellan’s Drop to multiple-story slides—she truly is a one-of-a-kind adventurer. To satisfy that inner “wonder woman” in her, five years back, we went on a Hong Kong trip to try HK Ocean Adventure’s multiple extreme rides. Who says these are just for youngsters? My lola has done and enjoyed it all.
To give back, I ensure that she tops my life’s priorities. We would do groceries together, have long drives with family, dine at her favorite restaurant (Max’s) so she can enjoy her all-time favorite sizzling tofu, go on our regular quest for durian, and travel together. I always make it a point that her golden years be nothing but awesome. With the tyranny of urgency in corporate life, regular quality time is non-negotiable.
Life is now in reverse: the once-spoiled-grandson is now spoiling his granny—a well-deserved treat for somebody who has given herself selflessly. It is as if God has once again incarnated and showed how much He loves me—in the person of my lola.
I cannot imagine where I would be without her guidance in my life’s seemingly insurmountable battles—from the separation of my parents, to the death of my girlfriend, to the shocking and abrupt death of my father. Cliché as it may sound, my grandmother truly has been the wind beneath my wings. Life would have its fair share of successes and struggles, of victories and defeats, but one thing is constant: aside from God, it is my grandmother’s love that has carried me through.
Marc Amante has been a corporate executive in a leading global financial firm for almost eight years now. An avid traveler and adventure-seeker, he has traveled extensively in Asia, Australia, and Europe to learn about other cultures and for self-discovery. He is a worship leader, youth leader and advocate; but among his many hats, being a loving apo is what he enjoys the most.