How Lola Shaped My Values and Character

"You, really are your Lola's favorite," uttered my Tita Nilda in a family's casual conversation one Christmas vacation.

I do not like the idea of favoritism but I knew that what my tita said was true. For some reasons my maternal grandmother really loves me so much. Maybe because I look like her eldest daughter - my mother.

I have beautiful memories with Lola while growing up that somehow shaped my personality and character.

From her I learned the value of caring and loving for my family. In most of our conversations, she repeatedly told me to always be there for my siblings and family. Aside from my parents she's the one who taught me to value education.

When I was a child, and my Lola was younger, I always went with her to the market to sell Lolo's various harvest. I always loved the brewed coffee or hot chocolate and pansit that we shared at our favorite eatery in the market after we sold all our goods.

I was always excited to go with her because I knew that I can have my favorite brewed coffee or hot chocolate and pansit again. She also rewarded me with money, at times. That was how I learned that if we want something, we have to earn it.

Our childhood home in the province was just few meters away from that of my grandparents. Most of the times I spent the night with Lola at their home. While lying in bed, we talked about family, about Lolo, about their love story, about everything. I had always fallen asleep while she was stroking my head or my back. Looking back, I believe that was the main reason why I always wanted to sleep with her.

My Lola had always kept something for me. Whether it was my favorite fruits, candy or kakanin (native delicacies). I always had pasalubong from her every time she visit the house, to my joy and excitement. That was how she taught me the value of joy in giving.

I remember, when I was already in College, she always save something for me every time I went home for a vacation. What's amusing was she literally hide those little stuffs from my siblings and cousins. That's how Lola made me feel privileged.

Last Christmas vacation she gave me a star apple (kaymito). Star apple is one of my favorites. I think she kept that star apple only for me. Again. she didn't have any for my cousins or siblings who were there also. She really never changed, all those years

I never tasted the sweetness of that star apple, though. Someone from my cousins or siblings ate it when I left it on the table. Nevertheless, I will forever savor the sweetness of my Lola's special and simple ways of gestures of her love for me in my heart and soul.

Lola is my original number one fan. She never stop believing in my strength and capabilities. All my life I believe that I am good and strong because she made me feel that I am really good and strong through her words and actions. That was how she prepared me in the battlefields of life.

Lola is now 82. I know that my late Lolo had taken care of her very well because she aged gracefully without any sickness. But, she's not as stronger as before anymore.

We only see each other now every Christmas vacation. And, I miss her terribly. I miss sleeping with her. I miss her stories. I miss her loving gestures.

I can see the twinkles in her eyes every time that her children and grandchildren are around. I hope to see those eyes twinkling for many more Christmases.

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