UNLESS invited, as a rule, I seldom attend my apo’s children’s parties. However, for Eque’s 4th birthday, this is my second year in succession because Lola Liza insists.

To the delight of both sets of grandparents, Eque who resides in Canada with parents Paulo Zayco and Dot Velez was home for a few months.

Mommy Dot whose creativity made the “Avengers” party pure joy for the kids personally conceptualized the invites, décor, giveaways with the assistance of her Mom, Lola Ruby (Cordova). Lola Liza (de Leon) was the master in the food division. The lolos, who share common nicknames: Bigot Velez (once mayor of Silay) and there’s Bigat (some close friends of Nonoy Zayco call him) were all smiles.

Seeing so many lolas in attendance I mentioned this to Lisa and she said she wanted the glamorous grannies present and share the blessed day with them.

Grandmothers over time have been a fascinating paradigm. I never met both my grandmothers. My maternal grandmother must have been an interesting lady-quite a femme fatale. Her first husband was French and after having a child and widowed, she married an American, my lolo.

This was post World War I era so how she met them is a sheer puzzle. My American grandfather was no G.I. He was a concessionaire in Port Area supplying soldiers with fruits and meat.

After the war, the Red Cross made an inventory of the Fil-Am babies. Rumor had it that the U.S. government wanted to bring babies back to the mainland sans their mothers. My lola for fear of being separated from her children refused to be part of the statistics. As to my paternal grandmother, she died on the delivery of her 10th child.

Looking at the lolas of the time from my grandaunts, strict rules govern between children and elders. Do not speak unless you are spoken; seen but not heard. Say good morning, good afternoon and good evening, please and thank you. Kiss all your lolos, lolas, titos and titas, my Dad or Mom would say.

Looking back, what did I learn from this? Keep family ties close and respect for elders. It was not a lesson taught but just caught. When my Andre son got engaged, I brought the engaged couple to Cebu to introduce Katy to my ailing mom and my brother.

When my mom became a grandma, the Americans had already entrenched their Western influence. No grey locks for my mom and the weekly trip to the parlor. Grandmas were coif and elegant.

As a grandma, I learned many things from my mom. She loved her grandchildren just as much as she loved us. When we would give birth, she would position herself in the window glass of the nursery room of the hospital with her chair in tow and just stay there. If her apo cries, she would tap on the glass to alert the nurses.

At home, she did not want to leave the babies unwatched. Better that the helpers abandon their jobs so long as there are a pair of eyes looking at baby.

Mommy loved to bring her “apos” on vacation. My mom was a home person who loved spending hours in her garden but she went out of the box and brought her apos to the beaches in Mactan, horse riding in Burnham Park and all the local sights.

Now as grandmother myself, I realized that these travels bonded her apos. Time together at leisure was developing camaraderie although there were jousts among the boys and fights over toys among the girls.

Leading by example and not through lectures, mom was a fantastic grandma and onto her last dying breath, her wake and her internment, her apos gave her the best of their time.

Today’s grandmas are totally different. Hairs are dyed from purple haze to Cyndi Lauper carrot to all shades of brown and red. Daily wear stretches from shorts to minis. Blue jeans are the norm and flip flops.

Lisa said that she wanted the gorgeous grannies to be present in Eque’s party.

Overtime, gorgeous grannies sing the same song. We love our apos but more than that, we want them to embrace the virtues that would make them be good and decent people. We pass on what we have seen-our love, our presence, our time are the treasures that they will remember and hopefully pass them as they become grandparents themselves.