In the eyes of the elderly
In the eyes of the elderly
SINUSUWERTE KA! - Letty Jacinto-Lopez (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2016 - 7:03pm

An aging father asked his adult son, “What is that sound I hear coming from that tall acacia tree?”  The son responded, “Oh! Just a tiny bird, Dad.”  The father paused but then asked again, and again, and again.  Each time the son responded, the tone of his voice kept rising until he was screaming petulantly, “IT’S A BIRD, A B-I-R-D, DAD!  ARE YOU LISTENING AT ALL?”  The father remained stoic.  After a while, with a trembling voice, he spoke, “When you were three years old, you asked me about the sound the gecko made in our old lanzones tree.  You asked me 17 times; every time you asked, I hugged you tighter and it made you laugh so hard that tears were falling from your eyes.  Our harutan (horse-playing) went on until your mother reminded us that it was time for bed.  Not wanting it to end, you cajoled and pleaded, ‘Dad, just one more time, answer me.’  And I did, hugging you tightly each time.”

“Have I changed so much that you’re yelling at me on my third try?” asked the father, choking back tears.

* * *

My friend sold her house to begin a new life as an immigrant.  Her son drove her to work and gave the impression that his mother was unfit to drive in a bustling metropolis.  “Mom, you can’t hack it, you can never drive here,” he pronounced.

Giving out a big, helpless sigh, my friend confessed, “Ay naku, kumare!  I think I made a mistake to relocate.  My son hasn’t stopped bickering and complaining.  Must I remind him that it was I who drove him back and forth, come foul or fair weather, from the time he was in kindergarten up until his college years, without ever getting a violation ticket?”   I laughed and assuaged her, “Maybe, he has forgotten that.  I can imagine you looking up at the sky.”

Have we forgotten how our parents — our mother especially — have been covering our backs from day one?  During the see-saw, up-and-down, and the roller coaster episodes in our lives, who was there to catch our fall, even prevent it?

Before regrets consume you, put joy in their hearts and raise up their spirit with kind words like:

How are you, Inay?  “Drop a line,” sang Frank Sinatra “To see if the folks are fine.”

Wow! Dad!  That’s fantastic!  Never be stingy with praises.  After all, your dad must have been the inventor of the thumbs-up sign to get you to where you are now, confident, strong, and worthy to be emulated.

Thank you, Inay!  Make her feel you’re grateful for everything she has done, and is doing for you and her grandchildren.  Heed this advice:  “Life is full of give and take:  Give thanks and take no one for granted.”

That’s my dad! Say this with a dollop of pride.  Keep in mind that this is the same man who raised you with pride and courage, and has now become your strength and shield.

Visit us, Inay, missing you!  Especially if you’re miles apart. Career, family and personal choices may have separated you physically, but keep her in the loop. Raise her delight at seeing your family growing, pursuing, and standing up for your dreams.

Dad, what do you think?  Consult him.  You could learn from his experience and even get an insight into how other people think.  Rest assured he would always stand by you, boost you, and be your ally.

Sorry, Inay.  Ah!  The cure-all for any kind of stress or heartaches.  She has raised you to be a man of faith, wisdom, honesty, and integrity.  Draw the biggest strength from being humble.

This is on me, Dad.  You cannot imagine the pride that swells in your dad’s heart to hear you say this.  Pick up the tab, send him tickets to his favorite show or sports event.  Surprise him with a plane ticket to his favorite destination and even some pocket money to boot.  While the myriad of expenses he shelled out for you can never be matched or repaid, your gesture will surely fatten his heart and make him feel wanted and appreciated.

In a recent visit to my daughter, she happily psyched herself to the point that her office mates and her boss got involved.  She went to the market, prepared an extensive menu, booked concerts and shows, called up other friends to alert them of my visit and provided me with a local phone so she could monitor my every movement.  Every day, her boss greeted her by asking, “What’s your mom’s schedule today?”  She replied, “She’s going to Mass today, and every day.”  “Whoa! That’s incredible!” her boss exclaimed.  Suddenly, I sent her a text message, panicking.   “Anak,” I wrote, “How do you start the dryer?”

Sitting at a reserved VIP table, her boss approached me, smiling enthusiastically, “I’ve heard so many fantastic things about you, M’am Lopez.  What a privilege to finally meet you.”

It was another fabulous day.

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