Modern Living

Nannie & her grandchildren

SECOND WIND - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star

How does one get along with her family, especially when the family is as complex as ours? I guess we leave it up to God and just be grateful for the things that fall into our laps and ignore the things that have caused us pain. If we can.

Last year was quite a holiday season for me. My first husband turned 80 and had a huge birthday bash. He flew all his children from the States and England over and I asked them to give me two Sundays, please. One to belatedly celebrate my birthday, which was in August, when I turned 70 and another, December 23, to celebrate our Christmas lunch, because my eldest daughter was working in the US and had to leave on Christmas Day to get back to work on time.

This past holiday season began early for me. Late in November, one of my daughters suddenly arrived and called me at the beauty parlor. She was a week early. She stayed with me. I thought she would be delighted by the arrangements I had made. I had knitted narrow curtains for the room, which I thought were very pretty. She obviously did no think so. She didn’t like the room I had assigned to her, though I had worked so hard to make it charming and livable. She chose the bigger room instead. She changed all my tiny rules, took over my kitchen, insisted only on natural and organic food and detergents. I began to feel like an intruder in my own home. But never mind, I told myself. Be patient. Just surrender.

I got in contact with my other daughter who is so much better now than the last time I saw her. We had our pictures taken, almost all together, but my eldest grandson was missing because he arrived late. And to this day I haven’t seen the pictures, but never mind, I will wait.

For the 23rd lunch, I ordered a huge turkey from The Old Swiss Inn, and all sorts of other food. They were supposed to arrive from Bohol the night before, their flights were cancelled. They arrived at around 5 p.m. then got caught in the worst traffic jam that hit Manila. They had headaches. They were crabby. I was lucky that my only son, their half-brother though I don’t think they think of him as that, his family and friend stayed and ate the food.

Of course, they didn’t finish it. My food was wasted, my nerves were shot. I came to the conclusion that of all relationships, parenthood is the most difficult.

 Then early in January, my daughter and her husband moved out. Her son Julian’s best friend arrived, a tall gangly Englishman named Dan, whose company I think I enjoy except I have a hard time understanding his accent. Today, we are more or less sick together, he in his room and I in mine. We are both trying to rid ourselves of the flu before the weekend comes when he and Julian will go off to Puerto Galera, while Rosie and I will attempt to sell our jewelry at PETA. And I will teach writing. And I cannot have the flu anymore.

When I think about it I enjoy grandparenthood a lot more than parenthood. I loved it when my oldest grandson Pow, all wrapped up in his winter clothes, would come out running towards me shouting, Nannie, Nannie! Then his younger brother Nicc who was terrified of my Phantom of the Opera disc when he was small but loved it when I brought him to see it when he was 21. Natalia, their only sister, another gorgeous girl who made it to the Dean’s list this term, making me very proud. Mikel, a tall good-looking six-footer, he could be a Hollywood star. These are the children of my oldest daughter.

Then came Julian, who was like my baby, who used to play on my computer saying, Nannie, again, again, again. Then came Sancho, who I used to calm when he was a tiny nervous baby. And Maxine, the beautiful daughter of my only son, and finally Andres, Sancho’s little brother, always cheerful, always laughing. All of my grandchildren are adorable and they all love me. That’s a lot more than I can say about their parents.

Julian has a gorgeous British girlfriend who, coincidentally, makes jewelry like I do. So we get along fine. She likes to work with fresh water pearls and I like to work with glass and crystals. If you want to see our work, we will be selling at the PETA adaptation of The Cherry Tree starring Cherie Gil. It is directed by Rody Vera who I met around 20 years ago and don’t know if I will recognize now.

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If you want to know where PETA is, google it. And by the way, am starting new writing classes on Saturday, March 21, 9-11ish. If interested, let me know. Text 0917-7155570.












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