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A seaman's wife

- Ma. Sheila Estabillo -

For most families now, it is common for every head of the family to leave home and work abroad for better employment opportunities. The current economic situation compels them to work overseas in order to provide a brighter future for their children. Like any other seaman’s wife, I am left alone to oversee our children, manage the business and do household chores.

My husband has been seafaring for more than half of his age now. He was a newly licensed second mate when we first met. It only took a brief courtship, resulting in what we now consider a blissful union blessed with two adorable boys.

I consider my husband an exceptional provider, and we are truly fortunate that we are able to meet all our daily needs. Practically speaking, we have not really experienced financial deficit.

In so many ways, I can describe my partner an ideal husband, gifted with a sense of positivism, and is mathematically inclined, astronomically knowledgeable, and a persuasive speaker. But like any other ship captain, he sometimes couldn’t separate his attitude toward work and family and has the tendency to treat everyone at home like one of his crew. He can be extremely authoritative at times. He has a short temper and is a disciplinarian. This could partly be attributed to his rigid schedule, enormous responsibilities and the stressful environment he is in while on board.

Nevertheless, they’re all part of his imperfections. As a wife, I have learned to be more patient and understanding in dealing with it. Our journey as a couple has not been a bed of roses. However, we constantly take adjustments and try to make reflections in every misunderstanding to improve our relationship. We argue on some issues, but we still manage to put aside our pride

and learn to love each other more.

Our relationship is bound by the distance of both sea and land. I gave birth twice without having my husband’s presence. While I was experiencing the painful effect of labor, he was probably sailing off to the Pacific seas. He called me through satellite to check on my condition. However, the absence of my husband beside me during labor pains and post natal blues was truly depressing. I went through all these pains alone — waking up and feeding my baby, among others. I am sure all wives and mothers will agree with me that raising children single-handedly is a gigantic task, especially for working mothers like me.

During those days that our youngest son was admitted to the hospital due to asthma attacks and seizures, my husband was not around to watch over him. My husband was not on my side

on those moments that I needed to bring our son to the nearest hospital, having the adrenaline rush to carry our son from the second floor of the house to the car while he was having seizure

attacks. I was all alone driving, while keeping my faith high. It seemed like I was floating onto thin air while sincerely wishing that my husband would pop in front of me and gather me in his arms, assuring me of our son’s safety.

However, it would be too self-centered if I only look at my own sacrifices. I know that my husband has his fair share of sacrifices and frustrations for not being around during those trying times. On few times, he shared how he felt so helpless for not being able to give an emotional lift.

I empathize with my husband’s tormenting situation. He has to adapt to the working and living conditions and a multi-lingual crew. When on vacation, the reality hits that he has to leave again for another six months or more to eke out a living. His every departure in the airport is a regular painful occurrence, and tears would roll endlessly.

I am writing this to pay homage to my husband, to my partner whom I’ve always been devoted to. I want you to know that I am neither blind nor insensitive to all your sacrifices for our family. I want you to remember that the thousand miles and vast oceans that separate us shall neither diminish nor taint my love for you. Proudly, I let the whole world know, if we go back in time, I shall still choose you and you will always be in my heart. As I once told you, I may not be a perfect wife and mother to our children, but I am trying every possible way I could to be the best that you could ever have.

All these had kept our marriage more meaningful. We will soon be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and we hope to count more years.

We might have missed out on many important details of our life together, I may not say this as often as I should, but let me tell you this, I love you and you will always be a hero to me and our children.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ma. Sheila Estabillo, 38, is a social worker at a charity foundation.

ALONE

ALWAYS

AS I

CHILDREN

FAMILY

HUSBAND

SHEILA ESTABILLO

SON

WHILE I

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