When working with our summer students, one of the first lessons is to get them out of the habit of using personal pronouns. No one cares about you, they are instructed, just write about the topic. But as editor, there are privileges, so please allow me a personal essay as this summer I mark two important anniversaries. On July 13, my wife Christina and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. On August 8, I will be celebrating my 15th anniversary as editor of The Interim. Without the former, the latter would not have happened. These two events are incredible blessings for which I could not give enough thanks.
Christina and I were high school sweethearts, had a child in our final year of school, survived long-distance dating during our university days, and against the odds, got married. We had five more wonderful children; the oldest is 25 and the youngest will turn two in August. Statistically speaking, the chances that high school parents get married and remain together is very low. Years ago, in the U.S., it was under 10 per cent. Our path may not have been ideal, but with the grace of God it worked. And that is the only explanation. I am not sure why Christina puts up with me, but I’m thankful she does. I cannot imagine I am an easy person with which to live and from Labour Day through to the Super Bowl, Christina is a football widow. Of Dutch heritage, I am a tad stubborn, set in my ways, and slightly opinionated. To say that I got the better part of this deal is an understatement.
Both of my parents were teachers so I grew up wanting to be one, too. Christina always wanted to work in a day-care center. Neither of us ended up in the career we dreamt of growing up, but both of us are doing what we wanted to do. Raising six children as a stay-at-home mom is like being a childcare worker. And as my friend Stephen Tardif says, I’m teaching and The Interim is my classroom.
Somewhere along the way, the idea of becoming a journalist took root, but I never imagined writing in the niche press, let alone the pro-life media. I wanted to write columns or editorials. But God had other plans, and he sent me to The Interim. It was my mother-in-law that noticed an ad in the paper in early 1998 looking for editorial board members. I assumed the volunteer position would give me a credential for other journalism jobs, not land me behind the editor’s desk three years later. I thank Jim Hughes and the rest of the board for entrusting this newspaper to me. And they, like Christina, tolerate a stubborn and opinionated colleague.
Most pro-lifers are such because of their faith. I was pro-life because of my politics. But the influence of my mother-in-law and my co-workers at The Interim and Campaign Life Coalition, enlarged my Catholicism. Growing up, being Catholic was a one-hour commitment on Sundays. Not so anymore, although I have plenty of work to do in order to be the Christian I should be. Fortunately, I have Christina and my family, and my pro-life colleagues here in this office, to help.