I have a lot on my plate these days.
New job, writing books, and a social life that tries to fit in family, friends, and dating. I couldn’t possible add more to it than I already do, can I? Well, yes I am.
I am refocusing on my French.
I have a lot of things I need to get better at. Money (I’m crap with my finances), spirituality (I need to get closer to God), physical health (I can’t stand for more than 10-minutes), mental health (I still have severe and crippling anxiety and panic attacks) and the list could go on. But one of my favorite pastimes has been language learning. I speak four conversationally but want to reach actual fluency in more than just English and Spanish. I can already speak better French than any American I’ve ever met who’s studied the language but that’s still not enough.
When I was in France this past summer for the European Championships, I could get by and people were pleasantly surprised how well I spoke French to them, but that wasn’t good enough. As soon as people would get into a conversational flow of French I was listening to gibberish and could only respond with my vocabulary of a five-year-old. So can I speak French? Sure, better than most non-natives but I want to be fluent fluent, not just where’s-the-restroom, fluent.
And then something dawned on me a few months ago.
While I was in France, two of my best friends kept telling me how they will visit Arizona one day and kept joking how that it would probably be when I got married. That’s true, I agree with that. Mayeul, Dorothée, and Joseph will be in Arizona for my wedding, whenever that is. But what I realized then and didn’t tell them was, they would also be back at least a second time. For my firstborn’s baptism since I am now announcing that they will be baptizing him or her. This makes sense on a lot of levels so let me explain.
First and foremost, baptizing a child is more than an honor, it’s a responsibility and that responsibility is to teach a child the proper way to be raised Catholic. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on those that do it for the honor and stuff like that. That’s cool, but that’s just not what its true purpose is. Godparents are supposed to be almost like monks or nuns that are not in a habit. They are supposed to be another example of living the Catholic life. Now, there is no more important example than the parent’s who raise the child, i.e. me and the poor girl that marries me, but godparents are a in there. They are honorary family members who, become in the eyes of God, actual family. Mayeul and Dorothée are wonderful, practicing Catholics who love and embrace the faith. They more than fill the bill.
Second, as I eluded to earlier, this will make them family. They will go from friend to part of my family when the child gets baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They say there is nothing more binding than blood but the Lord’s unions from Heaven to here on earth are stronger, a lot stronger. Marriage and baptism are just a few of the major examples of sacraments that are larger than any earthly law or physical connection by relation.
And finally, it’ll just be an amazing life for my child. His godparents will be in France for crying out loud! How cool is that gonna be? He’ll get gifts from the Old Continent on his birthday and Christmas. Or even better, he or she will be able to visit their godparents during Christmas or his birthday. When he’s a young man he can travel to France and stay with his godparents. The doors this will open up to him or her are endless as his family will be both here in Arizona and in France.
So how am I doing this in five months? I will be doing extensive training through the best language learning system there is, Glossika. For the next 21-weeks, I will be training for 90-minutes a day. That isn’t too much time but combing that with the length is quite the commitment. But whenever I get distracted, I have to remember that I’m doing this many reasons, including setting up an amazing life for my firstborn.
By the way, to my future wife, if you’re reading this, yes, this does mean frequent trips to France for the rest of our lives but just an FYI, if the child is a boy, his name is gonna be Luis Emilio Gonzalez Hernandez. Because before I ever promised myself who the godparents were gonna be, I promised my firstborn’s name to this man for doing this.