The Struggle to be Selfless

2016-07-17 10.22.12“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and His daughter Kari wanted to explore every inch of both.

But the results of standardized testing in math and science in her early education proved she would never be an astronaut, so Kari had to be content with Earth exploration.

She had a pretty good start since her parents moved five times before she was seven, but she doesn’t remember much about the adventurous years of living in places like Idaho and South Dakota.

I get my wanderlust spirit from my dad. He grew up in an isolated burg in northeastern Utah, which according to the United States Census Bureau has an official total area of 1.0 square miles and only two seasons “winter and July,” as grandpa would say.

Dad caught the travel bug when he stepped off his first airplane ride onto the European continent to serve a church mission. He returned home determined to make travel a priority in life. Choosing social work as a career didn’t facilitate travel aspirations very well, but he did what he could to give his family opportunities to see and do what we could.

Though we clipped coupons, shopped sales and drove clunkers to get by, Dad supported any travel ventures that came up for us. My oldest sister went with the high school debate team to Washington DC, my other sister went to Mexico with the choir, and I went to Hawaii to cheer at the Hula Bowl with the varsity squad. We did the fundraisers available to help pay for these trips and Dad created his own when necessary.

I’m grateful for Dad’s passion and sacrifice so we could have such experiences, and I’ve tried to do the same for my kids.

When I got the email last fall from my daughter’s French teacher about an educational tour of France and Italy in the summer, I knew immediately I wanted to send her if possible. I wanted to send myself too, but knew it wasn’t very possible. After attending the meeting about the trip I was convinced she should go. I signed her up, enrolled in the payment plan and got her busy doing fundraisers.

I was excited for her to go, but also jealous.

I’d already sent one daughter to Europe ahead of me, but Dad sent me to Hawaii long before he ever got to go. It’s just part of being a parent. We want our kids to have a better life than we did. Actually, I want to have a better life along with my kids but that’s apparently not how it works, so I selflessly send them out to see the world without me (with a small secret grudge).

Then some truly selfless people made it possible for me to go with my daughter.

Just days before the trip, some fairy godparents appeared out of nowhere and worked some magic so I could to go to the palace and meet the prince – literally. Château de Versailles is incredible and Louis XIV looked like a Renaissance hottie in his portraits.

Now I’ll have to arrange for my son go on some even more amazing trip so I can go back to being selfless.

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