A promise to my granddaughter | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

The old year is almost over. A new decade is about to begin. In early February I should be over the supposed jinx age of 79, safe and secure as I enter a decade that promises smooth sailing—let’s not mention to where.

I’m glad I had not known about the jinx theory until recently. Twenty-nineteen has not been so bad, really, although, of course, it’s not quite over yet.

Anyway, I already feel predisposed to celebrate; in fact, I’m planning in the back of my mind a birthday lunch for 80 guests, exactly as many as my years and also as many as the Roces-Villareal ancestral home on Vito Cruz Street—better known as the Orchid Garden Suites—can comfortably hold. To be precise, the venue is the hotel extension, which used to be Lola Menang Legarda’s chalet and where my very senior guests will face no climbing challenges.

I have myself become particular about such challenges. I have grown a spur in my left foot, in the back just above the heel. I saw a foot doctor who gave me a choice between surgery or therapy. Of course, I chose therapy. That has eased the pain and the swelling, but still, after sitting too long, I start walking funny and uncomfortably until several minutes into it.


Then something else: Some bleeding called attention, again, to my one and only polyp in the lining of my uterus. Many times I’ve come close to having it removed but something always gets in the way, like a vacation, or something as pleasurable, say, a cruise, during which not a drop of bloody intrusion occurred. With the bleeding gone so quickly, as if it never happened, and the case pronounced flukish, I was only too relieved.

Come to think of it, 2018 makes 2019 actually look like a good year. How many times did I show poor health indicators—sugar, cholesterol—and how many times did I get the scare of a heart attack because of a perfect mimic—acid reflux! So much for the jinx, so far as I’m concerned.

I have more friends younger than I—not so much younger, though—who have had medical issues in 2019, some serious enough to require surgery, like kneecap replacements—seemingly a sort of plague these days—either due to falls or weakened joints from pleasurable overexertion or just ordinary wear and tear.

Many of us have also gone through some anguish over our own children’s own health issues. But even before the year is over, things have gotten better all around. How bad can a year have been when things get resolved within the same year?


But, seriously, I’m watching my health. I’m lucky all I need to do is watch my intake of sweets and move every hour throughout the day. I’m luckier still because I’m getting help from my youngest granddaughter, who, at age 12, is sweetly precociously concerned.

Whenever she sees someone in a wheelchair, she comes over to me and tells me, “I don’t ever want to see you in a wheelchair, Mamita!” She constantly urges me to walk faster and proceeds even to drag me. “Walk like you never walked before, let’s go!”

She joined me at aqua-exercise classes during her Christmas break and declared herself the aqua police, checking who among us in class were not following instructions. She only got distracted when wafts of what’s for breakfast filled the air. By then, admittedly, all of us were ourselves thinking more of breakfast, trying to ingest more calories to burn in anticipation.

Avoiding the wheelchair is not as simple as it seems; it requires hard work. But being wheelchair-bound is definitely less confining than being bedridden.

But, again, in her innocence my granddaughter can’t see beyond the significance of a wheelchair. For her sake, in any case, I’m doing what I need to do to stay on my feet with all the hope to be able to see through her teens, at the very least.

Yes, I do have “… promises to keep, and miles (yet) to go—(on foot)—before I sleep.”

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