I spent my younger years with my grand parents from my Mom’s side. And I cherish those moments spent with them. Thinking about day 26’s topic, several memories came to my mind. During my younger years, my parents left me back home to work abroad. I stayed with my grand parents so I had a special bond with them.
My grand mother used to come with me to school until I moved to Doha. She would ride the school service with me and would even pay for a seat in the vehicle. She would take me to school and she’d stay outside until my classes are over. During breaks, I would come out of the classroom and she’d be waiting by the gate to give me food or medicine, if I was sick. I know sometimes, she’d go out with other Mom’s or Nanny’s of my classmates while we are having classes and they’d be even before we were dismissed. There was also an instance when my school service wouldn’t allow adults to ride with the kids so she had to commute going to school. She’d be there waiting for me when I arrive. She was like a student herself, going to school everyday just to wait for me to finish my classes.
I never knew how it started or why she was doing it. I never asked. It was during that one time when I was in high school or college when I heard the story from my Mom. It was my first day in nursery school. I remember listening to the nun teaching at the school and looking back at the crowd of parents outside the room trying to see my Mom. I saw her, she gave me a reassuring smile that she’s there and I smiled back feeling safe. When the class finished, I stood up and when out trying to look for my Mom. She wasn’t there. The other children were taken by their respective parents to go home, and others were climbing up the school van. Confused, I decided to follow the other kids to the van. The driver dropped off every kid in the van except me because he didn’t know where I lived.
I remembered him asking me: “Bata, san ka ba nakatira?” (“Kid, where do you live?”)
And I told him I lived somewhere near, and I started pointing him to turn left, right, left and right. I honestly didn’t know where we were and where our house was located. I was just trying to my luck asking him to turn at corners that looked familiar to me. But the driver finally gave up and took me back to school. When they opened the van, I saw my Mom and told her: “Hay nako Mommy, hilong hilo na ko. Di ko makita yung bahay natin.” (Oh my goodness Mommy, I’m so dizzy. I couldn’t find our house.)
Mom then told me that while we were having classes, she decided to quickly go to the supermarket. When she got back at the school, classes were over and I was nowhere to be found. She immediately went home and asked my grand parents if I was there. My grand father cursed at her and shouted at her saying why would she look for me at home when I was, in fact, with her at school. She got frantic, started crying and went back to school again. That’s when we finally found each other. From then on, my grand parents decided that someone should come with me to school so that I won’t get lost ever again. That’s why my grandma was always coming with me to school. She is my guardian angel. Always watching out for me.
On her 90th birthday (September 2012)
Trying out her dress for my wedding.
And then there was my grandpa. He was strict but he was also funny. He taught me how to whistle. He protected me like no other. Whenever I get into a fight with my playmates, I used to run to him to tell. And he would tell me not to play with them anymore and go home. Hahaha! I remember when I got bitten by our neighbor’s dog, he took his itak (large knife) and went storming our neighbor’s house. I was screaming and crying to stop him from killing the dog. I later found out that he didn’t kill the dog, but he just hit it with his itak. And there was the time when I got bitten by a mouse! Hahaha! My grandma took the mouse and took it outside. When my grandpa asked her what she did with the mouse, she said that she just placed a big piece of wood on top of the mouse. My grandpa got angry and said that she should have killed the mouse because it would only get away. He then took his itak again and went outside to kill the mouse. True enough, the mouse had escaped.
He always got angry when I get hurt. I was his precious grand-daughter. I was his baby.
I also remember that time when I had a terrible stomach ache. My grandma and I were waiting to go home. I bought some powdered sweets from the store and ate it. Then I ran fast to say to goodbye to my friend and suddenly my stomach started to hurt. When we got home, I was crying from the pain and I couldn’t move, eat and can’t even sleep. Grandpa carried me and cradled me in his arms for hours. In the morning, the pain was still the same. I remember he took a bed sheet, tied it around his neck and placed me on the makeshift cradle hanging on his neck and carried me again for hours. Being close to his body game me comfort and relaxed my body despite the pain. Later on, they brought me to my pediatrician.
My grandpa passed away on December 21, 1998. Just a month before his birthday. I felt so sad and just the thought of not seeing him or hearing his laughter breaks my heart. It’s been 14 years since, but I still miss him just the same.
I have more childhood memories with my grand parents that I’d like to share. But in conclusion, their love and sacrifice for me is unmeasurable. I am forever thankful to them, for keeping me safe during my delicate years and for being the best grand parents ever.