When I met my priest I was 18 years old. I didn’t know what studying Divinity even meant. I never believed my boyfriend would really become a priest. He did. He is happy. People always say we are complete opposites. We are not.
I have heard that he earns the karma and I spend it. It’s funny and maybe sometimes true, but my priest and I try really hard to be good at being good. We want our children to be decent human beings. We want them to understand that kindness is vital. Helping others is not a choice, but rather a requirement. That social media means nothing, but true connections and love are everything.
My priest and I laugh a lot. I still think his one liners are really funny. There is nothing that he likes more than making me belly laugh. We also fight. We forgive. We move on. We try to be a positive example to our girls that love isn’t always easy (unlike the images they see on TV and in the movies), but it is incredibly rewarding. Most true accomplishments take work. I believe in struggle. Struggle gets you rewards. I make the girls listen to a favorite song of mine by Passenger, “Let Her Go.”
“Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home.”
These words really ring true to me. You need to miss things. You need to want things. You need to feel low. It is only in the struggle that you realize your strength and your resilience. I feel blessed to share a road less traveled with my girls.
My priest and I dreamed of giving our children the gift of travel. We wanted our girls to understand that life isn’t about having the latest technology or toy. It is about the positive impact you can have on the world. When my eldest daughter said she dreams of inventing a straw that is not only disposable, but is also edible to aquatic life, I felt like we had done our job. She has traveled to beaches around the globe and is always sad when she sees straws littering the beach. She knows they are extremely harmful to sea turtles. She has seen a dead sea turtle on a beach in Greece. Who knows what it died from, but it was huge and gorgeous and she cared about it.
My priest and I want our children to care. Pippa cares about the people in our church. She loves the seniors in the congregation. She wants to cuddle them. She says she dances at church to bring them joy. She also keeps change in her pocket to give to a homeless amputee who lives in our town. He lights up when he sees her, not because of the change she gives him, but because she loves him and she sees him.
I am not sure that the 18 year old me understood that I had found a man who wanted the same things I wanted. I knew he was cute and that he loved me intensely. I didn’t know that we would have two children and move over 10 times around the US and then off to Europe. What I did know, is that we were a team. A team that struggles, but doesn’t give up. A team that believes parenting is our most important task. A team that finds joy is the quirky elements of life and encourages crazy.
I have heard from many people that moving our girls so much is a bad idea. That our girls need stability. Well, we have a different opinion. We have built our home on a rock of faith. Faith in God and faith in each other. Our daughters bring their faith, friends and family with them everywhere they go. Sometimes they struggle with the changes, but then they meet new people and they get to shine their light again in a new environment.
I must have done something right because I have a pretty neat family. I am glad the 18 year old me didn’t ditch the priest. He turned out to be pretty okay and he helped me have and raise the children I didn’t even know I wanted, but could not live without.