My ‘Feb-Ibig’

A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison - The Philippine Star

I really cannot allow this month of February to just pass by without writing about another subject aside from “A Law Each Day.” The reason is quite obvious, especially for romantic people who celebrate every Feb. 14 as a special day of love, or Valentine’s Day. Sometimes the celebration even lasts the whole month, thus prompting people, especially in social media, to designate February as the month of “Feb-Ibig.”

For me, however, February is not only a month of love. It is also the month when my beloved wife of 59 years, Josefina “Josie” Sampedro-Sison, celebrates her birthday, particularly on Feb. 26.

I first met Josie at a party of one of my classmates in Ateneo Law School right after the Bar exams when my batchmates and I started relaxing and enjoying every night after the grueling and nerve-wracking months of Bar exam preparations and weeks of tackling the difficult Bar exam questions on various law subjects. I noticed her immediately among the group of girls at the party because of her matured, dignified and attractive appearance and demeanor, which were hard to ignore. It is like an attractive photo on Facebook with a “Friend Request” which I cannot help but accept. So, I really tried to look for ways and means to meet and talk to her. And that opportunity came when sweet and romantic music started playing and I was able to convince her to dance with me. This memorable first dance enabled us to get more acquainted with each other that led to frequent dates thereafter and the eventual termination of my dates with other girls I met before.

From then on, I fetched her every day in the afternoon at the Far Eastern University (FEU) campus where she worked as the dance directress of the then famous and renowned FEU Folk Dance Group, which had a triumphant tour of several European countries, particularly in France and Spain where they won the grand prizes in the Caceres and the Balearic Folk Dance Competitions. In fact, before I met Josie, she was one of the folk dancers of the FEU Dance Group which toured Europe, presenting Filipino folk dances denominated as “Portrait of a Filipino as An Artist.”

Initially, I just brought her home almost daily by rushing to catch jeepney rides along Central Market in Quezon Boulevard. Upon arriving at her home, we would engage in small chats to get more acquainted with each other. Then after about an hour I would go home.

Later on, when my parents allowed me to use a bantam car, Josie and I would go to some attractive places in Manila and spend time there getting more acquainted with each other, particularly at the Rizal Park and Manila Bay walk. Then occasionally, we had lunch or early dinner at the iconic Aristocrat restaurant on Dewey Boulevard.

Actually, these occasions and meetings were the period of courtship which eventually became a whirlwind romance, as we agreed to get married after just seven months of getting to know each other. So, after meeting her in May 1964, we got married in late December of the same year.

The May-December romance was not, after all, a hasty affair that would be considered a mistake. After our marriage on Dec. 26, 1964 up to now, I become more and more convinced that I made the right choice. While we encounter some unavoidable marital spats which are really part of married life, our marital bond grew stronger through the years of being together. I became more and more convinced that I married a good, loving, faithful and ideal wife.

At the start, we were both working to earn a living. But when our marital love started bearing fruits through the birth of our children, Josie decided to give up her job and devote her life to being a housewife and mother to our six children – Joyce, who has already passed on to eternal life, Jopet, Joel, Jay, Jolly and Jaybee.

As a mother, she primarily took care of our children (one girl and five boys), making them God-loving, physically strong, healthy and wise. Of course, I also help in the rearing of our children as head of the family, but I could not have done my duty without her full cooperation, especially when the children were still babies. Indeed, I can confidently say that she had done her best as a mother, not only as wife.

From day one of our married life, we improved and strengthened our marital bond by joining organizations that promote and preserve strong marital relationship with God, the “third party” involved in our union.

And so, as I reminisce on the events of my life with my wife Josie, I am really so thankful to God for giving her to me as my wife and lifetime partner. She does not mind that other people will know her present age 84 years because she looks much younger and she appears to be as capable now as before, when she was conceiving and giving birth to our six children.

Advanced Happy birthday, Josie! May you and I have a happier, healthier and longer life together.

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