I have been gone from Portugal for almost 4 weeks. My priest stalks us daily. Anyone who happens to wander past the cottage has to speak to him on FaceTime because the kids are always busy and more interested in playing with their friends than chatting with their dad.
He is on FaceTime with us during meals. We eat and he chats. He watches the evening news with us as someone holds up the iPhone so he can see the stories.
My priest misses the noise, the constant singing, dancing and chaos…so he tries to make up for it by being here with us, if only by FaceTime. People don’t really understand that he didn’t make it home this summer to look after our dog, but that’s because they don’t understand our particular brand of crazy.
Our family loves big. We get mad at each other, we fight, but we always love. We love our near toothless 16 year old Bichon Frise. When it was suggested by the vet that we don’t leave her for too long, my priest stayed home. He loves big. He knows I would worry obsessively about Piranha if we were all gone, so he sacrificed. We do that for each other. In this world, where everything seems disposable, including relationships, we strive for love.
I will admit that I have a hard time watching the world I grew up in looking so different. Friendships change. Parents do not appear responsible for their children or their actions, but a lot of this I equate to loving big. When you love big, you can’t be selfish. It is not all about you. It is about your family, your community and your planet. When I watch kids litter, or be cruel to one another, I get sad and then I get mad. It is our job as parents to show kids the power of love. We need to be there for them, supporting them, correcting them, holding them accountable and most importantly teaching them what it is to love.
To love big, it takes a lot more than words. It takes commitment and patience and perseverance. My priest is alone thousands of miles away from the family he adores because we want our children to understand that love isn’t limited to humans…we love our dog big because we are committed to her, we don’t give up and everything and everyone is worthy of love. We need to spread this message because I feel like daily I see a world where the opposite message is evident and that scares me for future and for our planet.
Love big people, it feels good.