60 years of luving & raising a family

this 8th of may 2008, my mother Nene and father Cesar will be celebrating 60 years of married life together. we plan to have the celebration on july 5 so everyone can join us,especially our siblings in the US. i am awed by six decades of their lifelong love. i wish i can live that long with ed but am already 57 and ed is turning 65. if we count our married life to 28 years, we need 32 years together to reach this 60th milestone. that’s something to look forward to but i dont want to press God to get us living beyond what we can allow our bodies and hearts to bear… but how and what does it take to be married for 60 years and be faithfully loving and committed ?

intimacy and commitment are at the core of my parents’ love. this commitment to be together is a lot of energy and they give this love daily to each other. i see them waking up early at 4 am and help each other prepare for a 6 am mass. they have breakfast and go to work at 7 am. until my mother had a stroke in 2003, she would go to school with my father. my father never stopped teaching in Enverga university until last week when his emeritus status as dean was celebrated by the whole university. he started teaching in 1948 and this year 2008 we all honored his teaching contribution to the university and the city – six decades as a teacher! but i should stress that my mother, a teacher herself, made it possible for my father to work for 60 years. she managed all his schedules and served as the life events manager.

what does lifelong loving entail ? i will answer this from the stories and reflections i gathered from my parents, from my siblings and the communities my parents cultivated.

my father saw my mother when she was only 11 years old. he was barely 17 and found her very beautiful. he did not court her then but remembered her face which has not fully blossomed into a young woman. in 1943, the war started and many girls had to go into hiding to escape the japanese soldiers. nene went into hiding in tagbakin hills with her parents. cesar was recruited as a soldier while he was still in UP los banos. he was assigned to defend the towns from pagbilao to atimonan. in the tagbakin hills, cesar saw nene and introduced himself. he expressed his affection and promised nene he would return to court her. right after the war, cesar found nene and courted her. in 1948, they got married in simple rites. nene was orphaned by the war and cesar became her family. they had two children, sonny and girlie (i was named girlie as the first daughter). being future-oriented, cesar decided to apply for a scholarship to earn a masters and doctorate degree in Columbia University,New York. nene and the two kids brought cesar to Manila to board the SS Pres. Wilson for a one month journey to San francisco. each day at sea, cesar wrote nene and sonny and girlie. for three years, nene and cesar kept their love growing with letters and photographs. this 1951-53 letters became cesar’s journal and he poured all his feelings and dreams in these love letters. reading them transported me to another decade and the lives my parents struggled with. reading them made me reflect how good it was for my parents to pursue their higher studies and the struggles my mother took on to rear a family single-handedly during the time my father was overseas. many overseas parents will benefit from my mother’s experiences as parent.

i only found out about these letters from my sister heidi recently. nanay showed heidi the folders and i told her to read them. when i came home this may, heidi turned over the folders to me and it took four nights to read them the 1951 letters. i still have to peruse the 1952-53 letters. unfortunately, nene only saved the letters of cesar. but as i read the letters, i could still discern what nene wrote from the questions and thoughts of cesar. i found many spiritual and social gems in their letters. it will take a book to share the stories they exchanged with each other. their narratives are a rich source of lucena’s history in the 1950’s and what it took to build enverga’s university’s foundation as a teaching center in southern luzon.

Explore posts in the same categories: Lifelong learning, Love and marriage, Psychology

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