THE President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, was a priceless 100th birthday gift for Miliana Tananiqica yesterday.
Ratu Epeli made a surprise call on her home at Nabavatu Village in Macuata on New Year's Day just to be part of the celebration for the grandmother of 50. His visit brought tears to her eyes and made it a special day.
Her tears were her expression for how she felt with the presence of the head of the nation.
Apart from her children's love and affection, she said celebrating her birthday with the President was the best gift she has ever had.
Ratu Epeli said he was happy to be part of the celebration, adding it was his own initiative to travel up north for such a special day.
He said it was like a practice for him to attend birthday celebrations for old people who were turning 100 years old throughout the country.
Ms Tinaniqica's youngest son and Fiji's Ambassador to Korea, Filimoni Kau, said his mother was a woman who lived a simple life.
"She has lived a long life because she is very health-conscience and is always working to keep fit," Mr Kau said.
"From a very young age, my mother maintained a vegetarian diet and strictly followed the traditional cooking habits the iTaukei people are known for."
Mr Kau said his mother was also committed to community work to ensure she had a good relationship with the villagers.
Ms Tinaniqica, originally from Batiri Village in Macuata, became the father-figure in her home after her late husband, Atonio Sokovatu, passed away about 14 years ago.
Three of her children reside in the United States while Mr Kau lives in Korea. The rest live in Fiji.
Mr Kau said his mother's leadership role and good judgement was primarily the foundation of their success.
"Our individual achievement and good life is the result of her positive upbringing and we thank her very much for her struggle and determination," he added.