Lessons from Lola: Lively, Lovely Lifestyle (A Call to Go Back to Healthy Habits)

With lola in June this year from Georgie, my niece’s birthday celebration.

Hello, everyone!

Meet my Lola Tikang. My paternal grandmother who is now 94 and way healthier than myself. Yes, that is true. She is also mentally sharp. The time I would need to decide whether to do mental math or use a calculator would be enough for her to mentally compute and arrive at the exact answer.

Today, I will share with you some of the lessons that I learned and am learning from my lola Tikang.

Lola in her younger years.

Live.

The way you live and will to live.

Lola is a realist, she does not seem bothered by the what ifs and should haves of life. While she worries, too, it does not affect her disposition and decision making. She has always been a positive force on focusing on what has to be done rather than complaining when the situation is less than the ideal. In fact, I never heard her complain nor say anything along the lines of self-pity or any negativity. Well, apart from some descriptives…which we can say is because she always looks at the world around her with an objective eye. ‘Frank’ is how my cousin, Jasmine, put it in her most recent tweet. *grins*

It’s not always sunshine, of course. About seven (7) years ago, she slipped and broke her hip bone. We were all worried for her. It was of course a very important matter that my Father and all my Titos and Titas had a meeting and made a decision on whether Lola would go for surgery or not; both entail risks. She was 87 years old that time.

But there’s the will to be better. My Tita Yolly found a specialist, God sent a doctor who can and would engage in the operation with a positive outlook on the future. Our expectations were set that she might not be able to walk again.

Here, we surround lola with so much love and support when she was literally down.

Lola’s not one to easily give up. After about two (2) years, she was back in action!

Love.

Love freely and love unconditionally.

Lola Tikang and our late Lolo Genio have been blessed with 9 children (now 7, plus the in-laws), 28 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren (and counting!).

We were not raised in an expressive, touchy-feely kind of environment. Saying “I love you” was both corny and foreign. Reserved for the actors on TV. But that did not mean we lacked love in any way. For our family, love is expressed in action – in the form of service, time, and most importantly, selflessness.

We understand that love is loving even when it is not convenient, even when the times are tough and even in the darkest of hours.

She lost her husband, a son and a daughter. She lost all her siblings. I saw her in a depressed state and not eat for days. But her love for all those left with her prevailed. She is mentally and emotionally strong to hurdle life’s roadblocks.

This is only around half of our family. The others were probably out of town or out of country.

She had and still has several to pour out her love onto. Perhaps, of us, 28 cousins, 18 grew up with Lola. I for one spent my first two years living with them and after moving to our own house, my siblings and I would still always frequent their place. That meant she helped take care of about 6-10 toddlers and children on average at the same time. She took care not only of immediate family, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She also took care of her nieces and nephews and grandchildren from her nieces and nephews.

There’s help and the yaya; of course the parents and grandparents are very hands on, too, sure, but she sees to it that the children were raised properly.

I remember when I gave birth, the pedia only allowed breastmilk. That was ideal. However, I can only produce a few drops and when lucky, up to 1-2 ounce/s a day. I was hoping that if I persevered there will be more but it has been a month and I was still so afraid to try out something that has no approval from her pedia. My parents urged my husband and I to already make an independent decision with the baby in mind plus for the first time in a loooong while, I saw Lola furious. “Eh wala eh. *€$¥%#* na mga doktor yan! Painumin mo na ng gatas anak mo. Wag mo na hintayin doktor.” (But there’s none, {some Tagalog French} these doctors! Give her milk, don’t wait for the doctor’s go signal.) Just one of the many ways she expresses love and concern.

Wedding portrait of Lola Tikang and Lolo Genio.

Lifestyle.

An active, happy and healthy lifestyle.

My brother and I recently had a discussion on waking up early, the same time everyday as a productivity booster. Well, lola wakes up 3am or 4am every single day. Beat that!

When she was younger, she was very active, always cleaning around or cooking or attending to a child (or two or ten).

I saw her always, after bath and before bed applying coconut oil. Perhaps that was the secret why her hair stayed mostly black until the incident that I shared above and her skin fairly younger than her chronological age, for many years. She also allowed herself some time to rest and recover.

She took care of herself. She took care of us, is taking care of my baby nephews and she is taking care of herself.

She knows when and how to have fun. See this next picture. But she is also someone you will take seriously because if her intellect and wisdom. She is well loved and respected by everyone.

Hamming up with my cousins.

Lola never gained too much weight. Her secret? She loves fish and veggies, not so much into any other meat, not a fan of canned or preserved food and not into sweets. She also only ate just enough. A discipline that I am trying to put into action.

Now, she eats very little. That’s all her appetite could afford but she’s strong. Strong enough to carry a toddler on her lap. Praise God for giving us lola as a gift and we are thankful every single moment. We hope she lives many, many, many m, many, many more happy and healthy years! 🙂

May Lola inspire us to live healthy. With all the unhealthy food options all around us and the mostly sedentary lifestyle keeping us down, it is high time to go back to old, healthy habits. It’s not easy to transition to, but it’s very rewarding! Lola has been showing us how.

Oh, and for my relatives who may be reading this. Please hug lola for me.

Want to share the lessons that you learned from your grandparents? Want to share healthy habits? Comment in the box below.

Thank you for visiting and til next time.

Note: Special thanks to Tita Yolly, Jasmine Bautista and Kat Bautista for the photos. 🙂

Advertisements

About Emile Therese

Emile Therese is a graduate of the University of Philippines in Diliman with a degree in Psychology. She is happily married. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with one amazing daughter (and hopefully at least one more child). She believes that values and character ought to be taught as early as possible and that these are key to community and nation building. This was also how she and her siblings were brought up by their two awesome parents! She is a Certified HR Professional who advocates employee engagement in its entirety. Emile believes that true employee engagement rests on the pillars of basic human needs and in ensuring that process and leadership basics are in place - the employee engagement imperatives. She hopes to contribute to making this world a better place for all of us now and the next generation. She loves sipping tea, conversations, reading and writing. The latter gave birth to two blogs - Purposeful Parenting Journey (purposefulparentingjourney.com) and Engagement Imperative (engagementimperative.com).

7 Responses

  1. Jasmine Fatima E. Bautista

    I am in joyous awe that am featured in this blog. Very thankful that it was noticed. My Dear Lola is very special to me, that’s why I was able to express my perception. Well, sort of a funny way. Every tweet about my Lola is when she is at her funniest. The “funny” part is, she is not aware of that. Honestly,all my tweet is her being “frank”, but don’t tell her that. My most memorable joke my Lola pulled was when Kuya Eric video called and luckily I was there, and I waved back. My Lola said “ TINGNAN MO YAN SI JASMINE MAS MATANGKAD PA SAYO, NAPAKALIIT MO ANO, ERIC?”(Look at Jasmine, she’s even taller than you Eric) , grinning back to the video call. I was shook when she said that. Even Auntie Yolly was trying to hide her laugh, she couldn’t keep it in.

    Anyway, going back. She’s our one and only brave patriarch of the family. Able to take care of a huge number of little ones and counting. Though, I did not grew up in the comfort of my Lola, still am fond of visiting her. She goes outside wearing that great big smile and makes you feel welcome that there is food in their home. About the food; first, she’ll call us “kain na mga bata” (Let’s Eat Children) , and then complain about how little food they have, when all you can see is more than five dishes serve in front of you. That’s how she shows her comfort, then ask you even after you eat “Kumain ka na ba? Kain ka dyan.” (Have you eaten, You eat there). That is how well we know her, she does not want you to feel famished. Very lucky to have that kind of Grandmother who doesn’t ask for much, but appreciate the gift you can share with her. And that’s my Lola 😀

    Jasmine Fatima E. Bautista
    3rd Gen

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.