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Lessons from your children, from a pandemic, and from life

By MARGIE MORAN FLOIRENDO, The Philippine STAR Published Oct 17, 2021 5:00 am

The fruit does not fall too far from the tree, they say. What children become when they grow up is the product of upbringing. The best children come from the best parents, no matter what you say about wayward lives.

You can’t control what your children will become, but at least you can strive to put them on the right path. One can’t be a proper parent without acknowledging this as their prime responsibility.

But when life moves you up to the role of grandmother, with the above matters no longer a concern, it becomes both a time of counting your blessings and looking back to lessons learned along the way. 

When a pandemic interferes

With the attendant restrictions of the pandemic, I learned to value my family more. I was glad to see my daughters continue working at their advocacies, as I once did for Habitat For Humanity. The restrictions have given me more time on my hands. I got in close touch with their daily activities and learned from their chosen lines of work.

We survived much while we were young. And in the approaching decade, we have the privilege of passing on life’s lessons to our children — or merely leaving them to learn from their own journeys. 

Grief and solitude, indeed, factored in heavily under COVID. Time is an asset that mustn’t go to waste. Moreover, since socializing is restricted and traveling a luxury, including a 10-day quarantine whenever you return, time spent with friends and family keeps me secure that everything will be fine. 

Over the years, I enjoyed traveling abroad with my daughters. My last trip with Monica and her family was when we spent our Christmas in the UK. Similarly, Gabbi and I would go on adventure trips to Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina. 

Leaping where heaven meets earth: Margie with daughter Gabbi in Salar de Uyuni (Salt Lake) in Bolivia.

Researching on restaurants serving good food is always their part of the planning. They would rather spend money on excellent food than on shopping. Our conversations are on what we expect to eat, and afterward, we discuss and rate what we just ate.

That is what bonding is all about: having good conversations over lunch and dinner. We also enjoyed watching a good play or musical, an opera, a ballet, or seeing new art exhibits. On my bucket list next year is to take Cosima and Adriana to Disneyland. 

These days, however, we have been discovering new destinations within our country. I’ve traveled the world with friends, but I’ve also explored almost every nook and cranny of our country.

Traveling locally with my daughters and granddaughters adds a whole new dimension to our relationship. We’ve enjoyed our recent trips to Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Bukidnon and Surigao del Norte. Through them, I’ve come to appreciate many spots in our country — if only the local governments could be stricter in keeping their towns clean and green. 

However, I was most blessed to have my two granddaughters on hand throughout the pandemic. I doted on them extra meticulously. My little girls were my sunshine and my rainbow, and nothing would ever go wrong if I were there to protect them.

Real-life schooling will have to wait, as “live” classes have been slow to reopen. I feel sorry for them that they have to study via Zoom. CHED's former head, Dr. Patricia Licuanan, emphasized in a recent talk that our education system has reached a dangerous stage — right now, the Philippines risks being a year behind the rest of Southeast Asia.

The weary mothers listening to the talk shrugged their shoulders and acknowledged their frustration at things that are beyond their control.

I have mulled over a lot of things in these moments of solitude. And I’ve come to realize, in full detail, where I am in life. 

My generation has passed being at the top of our game; most of us are already grandparents. We have taught our children much. Now it is time to learn about things, even beyond the realm of the internet.

There is wisdom gleaned from looking back and realizing that, while we may have made some mistakes along the way, the present for us is the decade of admitting these mistakes to our children. But most of all to forgive ourselves if the best way we knew was, in hindsight, not the best in the long run.

 Remembering happy bonding times before the pandemic: A surprise party for daughter Monica in 2019 in the UK, where the royal theme was made possible by wearing paper masks. Margie was Queen Elizabeth, with guests as Prince William and Kate, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Margaret Thatcher, Boris Johnson and Dave Cameron.

We survived much while we were young. And in the approaching decade, we have the privilege of passing on life’s lessons to our children — or merely leaving them to learn from their own journeys. 

After all, the norms and issues of their time — this time — will best equip the next generation. That is a sentence loaded with wisdom. And we have to trust that it is so.

But at the end of the day, if we can say, “Sometimes I hit, but sometimes I missed,” we might have known all along that one essential thing: that having tried with all our hearts is all He wants from us. 

And that is what you pray your children and grandchildren will learn in their own God-ordained time.