Family,  Stories

The Slow Burning Fire of Time & Presence: Nestlé & Trina

Separation anxiety is something we often associate with children. It’s what they get when they feel the sudden absence of a parent or an adult they trust and depend on. Just go to any primary school at the start of the school year and you’ll see hell breaking loose with six and seven year-olds of either sex calling mom and dad, begging to be sent home.

But whether they admit it or not, parents are as affected by it, especially those whose jobs keep them from seeing their families regularly.

Nestlé Jeturian is not exactly what you would call an OFW, but with the nature of his job he might as well be, albeit an out-of-town one. If the average Filipino employee reports to work in one of the many high-rises dotting the Ayala and Ortigas CBDs, this 41-year old father of three, who manages a distribution company for personal and household products, has to drive from Quezon City all the way to sunny Batangas, a good two to three hour-long trip depending on the traffic.

Putting family first

No surprising then when there are days he can’t make it home.

To a natural extrovert like him, not being able to recharge and sit down at dinner with his wife Trina and kids after a stressful day at the office is nothing short of torture.

As if to balance things a bit, Trina runs an online business from the quiet of their residence which means that she’s always at the kids’ beck and call, whom she also homeschools informally to supplement the education they’re getting at school.

“I just got a curriculum online. They’re enrolled at a regular school which isn’t a Catholic school. If I don’t teach my kids [the way I want them to be taught’], who will?” said the young mom, who runs The Carpenter, “a faith based concept store for contemporary living.”

It also helps that the in-laws live just right across the street from theirs so the Jeturians have people they can leave their children with whenever they need to, like during their monthly date nights.

“We go out on family outings. We make it a point to have a couple date night apart from the usual family trips,” said Nes, whose language of quality time he incidentally shares with Trina.

The couple are already thinking about relocating down south, someplace nearer Nes’ place of work. While a major change in itself – being with Nes’ 91-year old dad and 83-year old mom has always been a comfort – this is probably the most concrete proof that the Jeturians recognize the preciousness of togetherness during their children’s growing years.

A decade apart

Their paths first crossed in 2006 when Trina was having her internship in Nes’ company. Their common passion for sales and marketing made sure they never ran out of things to talk about. Though the bachelor found the Lasallian lass cute, the idea of courting her seemed far-fetched since he thought her too young for him to date. He was 30 and she 20. Besides, the colegiala was already seeing someone at the time.

Instead, Nes would invite her and the guy to join his Catholic community for singles, which they did attend and in fact actively took part in for quite some time, until the two split and soon became inactive as well.

Partly because of this, Nes and Trina lost touch.

In 2008, Nes, now 32 and still single, was undergoing a spiritual crisis of sorts, if you will. For his age, he was relatively successful, but felt a void in his life that needed to be filled. Yes, he had money; yes, he had stability, he wanted, as the song goes, to “find a girl, settle down..” but couldn’t seem to find the right one. He was an expert in sales who ironically was rudderless when it came to the business of romance.

Consequently, friends would set Nes up on dates, but he there was none he could really gel with.

As a remedy, he joined a silent retreat up in Baguio, then mounted his own self-directed one-month fast for him to see clearly where God was leading him.

“[Trina] wasn’t in the picture … the specific intention was for God to give me options, at the very least,” Nes said.

Halfway through it all, Nes bumped into Trina unexpectedly one day at a mall in J. P. Rizal, Makati where he was relaxing before heading for work in Batangas.

It was kumustahan galore, and Nes saw Trina, fresh from a break-up, differently this time. While their ten-year age gap was a fact that could never be changed, at least Trina was no longer as young as when they first met.

He quipped, “Trina’s parents were initially apprehensive when they learned of our relationship because I was older. They said, at that point in time I might already be looking for I wife… They were right.”

Slow burning fire

Needless to say, it was a love story that was as natural as it was intentional. The elements of friendship, a shared faith, and the passage of time all helped to season their affection for each other. Unlike the imagery of sparks flying, what Nes and Trina had could probably be compared more to a slow burning fire, pointing to a relationship that would soon prove to be for keeps.

Long story short, no sooner had the two renewed their friendship that they leveled it up to something more “special.” They exchanged vows in July 4, 2010. It wouldn’t be long before they welcomed their firstborn Matteo Anton, now 5. The second addition to the brood is Saria Katherine, 4, and their third child is Andres Gabriel, 3-months old.

In short, “Nakuha ni Nes si Tina sa fast-fast-an!”

And the saying about not really knowing someone until you’ve lived with him or her under one roof proved all true in their marriage.

“I’m very organized. I want everything in place. Nes is more laid-back. Immediately I put my clothes in the hamper. He doesn’t feel the need to do the same,” shared Trina, chuckling.

What would you expect when methodical introvert Trina and spontaneous extrovert Nes fight? Sounds like the beginning of a cheesy joke, but it’s not, because it has resulted into more quarrels for the two.

Their opposite personalities, which attracted them to each other, also cause them to quibble over the littlest things every now and then.

Nes explained, “At the start, it was really hard adjusting. I didn’t know where she was coming from and she didn’t know where I was coming from. We’re totally different.”

According to him, the best solution they have found so far when they reach a deadlock is prayer.

“She prays, I pray. That’s it. God fixes it for us … It’s impossible to fight when both of us our praying … Let God mediate,” he added.

In a frenetically-paced lifestyle, time is too valuable to be spent in heated arguments. Though just married for a few months shy of 8 years, Trina and Nes have zeroed in on what truly matters and giving it all they’ve got.

Raymond Sebastian

From Paranaque City, Raymond A. Sebastian is our resident church historian, self-appointed film critic and aficionado of Ingmar and Bergman and Guiseppe Tornatore films. He likes browsing book stores, cooking kare-kare, and spreading Marian devotion. An avid collector and reader, his private library boasts hundreds of volumes of classical literature probably in an effort to commemorate the lost Library of Alexandria.

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