Blogging, Buddhism, Celtic Languages, Community, Faith, Fate, Fulbright Program, Gay marriage, Gay parenting, Gratitude, Living in Hawaii, Marathon training and running, Middle Age, Philanthropy, Quakerism
A few days ago my husband, a full-time Humanities teacher at a small, private high school in Honolulu and a full-time father (a far greater co-parent than I am in raising our young daughter) received this message from a professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa:
Thank YOU so much for the fascinating, informative, and entertaining lecture! We all enjoyed it very much. I was very impressed. It was great that your students were able to come to be with us.
My husband had given a presentation about Celtic languages, a passion that translated into his earning a Ph.D. from the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures from Harvard, and later working as an associate professor at two universities in Europe.
He also has taught elementary and middle school children and seniors.
And me. Every day for more than 15 years.
When I first met my husband, he was a young grad student at Harvard paying his rent by working in the best foreign language bookstore in the United States.
I took a great chance, standing in that bookstore, by starting a conversation with him.
It would be way too glib to write The Rest is History because that history is day-to-day building and rebuilding bridges that have fallen down that, still intact, have taken us to four different states and three different countries before we finally found a place that has felt right as a home for our family, to different jobs and communities, to having a child born with an extra chromosome and trying (unsuccessfully) to bring another child into our lives, to finding new friends, to hanging in there in our own relationship, to maintaining love and respect for each other in good times and lean times, to giving up, redefining and finding new dreams.
I know I’ve always been grateful that the bridge between my husband and me has never closed down even during seasons when we have felt the bridge sway a bit.
Last December, at a Fulbright Chapter gathering, I met the woman who wrote the lovely note to my husband that I included earlier in this post. She teaches and knows many people in the field of linguistics.
Since my husband gave up many of his own dreams for my dream of having a family and white picket fence, the least I can do is help him keep a few of his aspirations alive.
I have always felt my husband, not I, should have been the Fulbrighter. He is brilliant. I’m fine, but I’m not in his league.
I am a marathoner, though. I know how to hang in there, get through rough miles and savor the ones that come easily. I talk to people on the course, some of whom I meet for the first time and with whom I maintain friendships. I have encouraged many friends to train for their first marathon, including the gentleman who joined me to cheer my husband on a few days ago when he gave his presentation. The three of us are smiling in the picture in this post.
I can never thank my husband nor our friends enough helping me stay true to my dreams no matter what the distance. I feel I’m nearing the point where my time is better spent giving back to them as often as I can and now and then still enjoy a dream or two of my own!
And build a few more bridges.