Tag Archives: priest

He earns the karma and I spend it.

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.

My Priest cracks under the weight of Portuguese

So, to say that my priest is good with languages would be a great lie.  He struggles and he struggles so intensely that the only result is pure comedy.  In this case, hurt my brain from laughing so hard comedy.

My priest does not do well when I am sick;  thankfully for our family, this rarely happens.  I am pretty healthy and so he  never has to deal with too many household responsibilities.  However, now that I have a concussion he has a whole new set of jobs.  I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say he was surprised at how often and how much our children need to eat.   Pippa didn’t get this delightfully juicy from eating nothing.

So as I lay in bed, my priest decided to answer and make phone calls while sitting beside me as I attempted to rest my brain.  It all began with me telling him that Maggie needed a new field hockey stick.  Pre-injury I sourced a local Portuguese company that sells field hockey equipment online.  They are located very close to our home and one of the other parents told me that you just need to call the owner and go pick up the equipment to avoid the high shipping costs.  I had the owner’s phone number and all my priest needed to do was to ask for a Gryphon stick size 36.5.  It was pretty easy.  That was all he needed to say.  He dials the number and there is no answer, only a message in Portuguese.  He freezes.  I can see his face contort.  He leaves his message.  He starts by saying hello and then requests the stick.  He doesn’t stick to the script.  He later claimed the Portuguese message threw him off.  He asks to order a Gryphon stick, size 36.5….centimeters.  What???  I say not centimeters…it sounds like she is an elf.  He panics.  He tries to backtrack and then embarrassed, he hangs up the phone.  Needless to say, Maggie doesn’t have her new stick, but I laughed for a good hour about the 36.5 centimeter stick that my gigantic daughter will be bending over to play field hockey with.

My priest answers some emails and then asks if I remember the name of the lady at our bank who speaks English.  I barely remembered my name at that point and I had to say no.  He calls the bank.  The man who answers speaks no English.  My priest panics.  He starts talking louder and slower…classic.  Finally, he speaks Portuguese.  What does he say?  Why how about every word he knows…which strung together sounded like this: good morning, good afternoon, thank you.  I am again, dying of laughter.  The man on the other end must have taken pity on him and found a coworker who could help out.   When my priest went to the bank a few days later, the English speaking lady had heard all about his call and had enjoyed a good laugh.  Glad I wasn’t the only one who liked his humor!

Later in the day, I wandered downstairs and the girls were watching tv while my priest was reading the New Yorker.  The phone rings and he picks it up.  The person on the other end speaks no English.  My priest tries to hand me the phone because I can understand Portuguese and I still pretend to speak it, all the while just really changing Italian words…but it works.  I was still too tired to take the phone.  My priest is drowning.  He tells the person he can’t speak Portuguese. He tells them that this is not a hotel.  He tells them he has a friend who speaks Portuguese.  He offers to give them his friend’s phone number.  He pronounces her name, Barbara, like it is the most foreign sounding name ever.  He rolls the ‘r’s’ in Barbara.  Then he stops speaking.  He listens and then says, “obrigado,”  thank you in Portuguese.  An English speaker was on the phone, finally, and explained everything to him.   I am still laughing uncontrollably about Barrrr-ba-rrrr-a. The call was not about a hotel or the wrong number.  Apparently, my priest ordered paint for his car and it was ready for pick up.  Why in the hell he thought people needed hotel help or why his friend could help, no one knows….but I do know that he makes me laugh, at his expense often, and he doesn’t even mind.


Hotline Bling…Priest style

My priest loves to sing.  He thinks he is pretty good at it too.  Once while singing along to the radio years ago, I told him he got all of the lyrics wrong.  He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I am a paid professional singer, are you?” I admit that he does have to sing as part of his job as a priest, but it is really pushing it to claim he is a professional singer.  Really pushing it.

Last week, my daughters had the car radio on and a Drake song came on.  Drake, is from Toronto…my home town…and he even went to my same junior school, so I encourage their enjoyment of Drake.  

“Hotline Bling” starts playing and my priest starts singing along.  He starts belting out the tune with real conviction.  He sings, “I know when the heart long pong, it can only mean one thing.”  What the hell does that mean?  The kids erupt in laughter. No seriously, what is a heart long pong?  When I ask him that question, he has no answer, but he guessed it was something hip and cool and very Toronto.  This guy kills me.

Maggie’s first fight. Hopefully…her last.

Maggie has been complaining about this little boy since she started school.  In fact, on her first day there we were greeted by the head master and in the corner of his office we saw this boy sitting on a chair.  Obviously, a sign of things to come.

His name is Leo and he is only 9.  He looks like he is in middle school…huge, beastly child.  Bless his heart.  (I learnt, from living in the south, that I can say mean things as long as I say “bless his/her heart” afterwards.)  He was sent to board in Portugal, while his parents are living thousands of miles away in China.  Maggie feels terrible for him, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t scared of him.  He has declared war on all girls.  He threatens to kill them.  Cut up their brains.  Hit them with baseball bats.  She has been the victim of a few of his rants.  He has also pushed her a couple of times.  She comes home and details the terrible things he does.  He litters.  “Can you imagine?”  This is Maggie’s question to me.  Well, yes I can imagine he litters…seems low of the list of awful things he does daily.  He takes his soda cans and throws them over the railings at school where they land on parked cars.  She has never told on him because she is really just trying to stay away from him.  She did help a little first grader who was almost hit by Leo with a baseball bat.  But, let’s be honest, she had to do something then.  The little girl was almost pummeled.

I went to the school to address these issues.  They are aware of his problems.  He is in therapy.  He has had a rough childhood.  I am sympathetic, but not happy.  Fast forward, to yesterday.  Maggie comes home with a pretty bad cut on her arm.  It was bright yellow…the results of a cleaning with iodine.  Iodine! I haven’t seen that used on a cut since I was a kid, except of course when Pippa got an injury from one of her fights in Portugal.

She tells me that Leo tripped her on the basketball ball court.  Once she was on the ground he proceeded to kick her.  She yelled for him to stop and a teacher came over and intervened.  Thank God.  Besides the nice cut on her arm, she has a pretty nasty bruise on her bum.  The assistant head master told him to apologize to Maggie, instead he threw his soda can over the fence.   When she told him to pick it up, he refused.  The real head master was called.  Maggie said he screamed at the kid to pick up the soda can.  Leo then took his finger and turned into a knife and dragged it across his throat and told the head master he was going to kill him.  Then, he was sent home.

To say I am disturbed is sort of a gross understatement.  I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about Leo out for revenge and coming with a bat to hit Maggie.  I decided to keep her home for a day.  She is scared.  The boy is deranged.  Pippa thinks she should just beat him up and get it over with.  These girls really couldn’t be more different.

Alas, my priest husband called the school the next day to report why our daughter was absent.  In his far too gentle way, he said that Maggie was upset about the fight.  He expressed concern, but then he expressed compassion for Leo.   He hoped he was getting help.  He said he would pray for him and he understood the school needed to do what was best for all students.   The head master said he had all of the students safety in mind, but wanted to give Leo a chance at redemption.

HELP!  I know I married a priest and I know I am sending my daughter to a Christian school, but the kid wants to kill all girls!  I am all for compassion, but what about the baseball bat?  What about the kicks to my kids behind?  What about pretending to cut off the head master’s head?

I sent her to school today.  I told her to avoid Leo at all costs.  She didn’t need to be nice to him.  This goes against everything we have ever taught her, but so be it.  Fingers crossed.