i want

I’m afraid to have babies.

I kind of don’t want to.

But there was a moment on Friday night at our friend’s father’s house during her 30th birthday party. It was the day after Thanksgiving and the house was packed with family. It was a family and a house I was familiar with, for these were our officiant Randall’s uncle and aunt and cousins, and their backyard is where we’d gathered to watch Randall get married two and a half years ago — to watch families merge and expand.

And the moment happened when we were jammed into a tiny den. Our friend Steve-o was jamming on the guitar and everyone, young and old, male and female, was dancing to Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally.” All the younger cousins, drunk on wine, were hollering and laughing and spinning one another into each other. Our friend pulled her mother, who’d suffered a stroke a few years ago, out of her wheelchair and held one elbow as her sister held the other, and together they staggered forward half a step, then back again. Dancing.

They aren’t a perfect family. They’re a family not without problems, not without secrets, not without fear and regret and sorrow. But they temper that with love and joy so fierce that in moments like these there is absolutely no room for anything else.

I looked at the beau and said, “I want a family like this.”

More than just a big family with a lot of brothers and sisters and cousins, because I can’t change the family I was born into. I can’t change anything about where I came from.

But I can make want I want in the future. I can create the life I want. And what I want is the joy of watching my family grow and change, to leave and come back again. I want dancing and singing and food and drink and raucous laughter that fills a warm house to the roofbeam.

I want to live life unrestrained. Open to joy and pain and doubt and certainty, and knowing that I can feel all at the same time. Knowing that maybe nothing is ever a sure thing.

I want to live life imperfectly.

I want to live life unafraid.

7 Responses to “i want”

  1. I have so much to say about this that I think it’s going to end up being a post. I’m the quiet, serious one in my raucous family, and my kids weep when we leave Grandma’s house and their crazy uncle (my brother), his wife and their two ridiculously fun kids. I think my daughter wants to be adopted by them. I want to be adopted by them.

    The thing is, no matter how hard I try, I can’t be them. I just don’t have the silly gene (or at least not a silly gene as prominent as theirs). My only hope is that my children will love their nuclear and extended families for what they both have to offer.

  2. I hear ya! I’m totally scared of babies and having them but would like to have a family… let me know if you figure out how to solve this conundrum

  3. Ooooh! Good post. And I look forward to seeing where you take it, Sarah.

    My family is big and we work on getting through things and love each other, but there is definitely undercurrents. For me it’s about trying to get to the point where there is more love, laughter, and games than crises.

  4. nice post! I have been baby crazy since I was like 13 so I’m no help there but my husband’s family is like this. I look at them and think ‘this is exactly what I want’. they are a bunch of close knit hysetrical people that genuinely enjoy each other’s company. i mean, how awesome is that!?

  5. Thanksgiving made me think about this stuff a lot, unsurprisingly. Thanksgiving with my family was a rare moment of (alcohol-facilitated) emotional honesty, ending with me hugging my sister for maybe an hour while we babbled about how much we like each other. And then we saw Collin’s family… and they are ALWAYS like that, so I basically got a huge dose of love. I feel a lot of pressure to live up to that! I hope I can.

  6. excellence. i had a moment like that this thanksgiving as well…i never wanted kids. i hung out with my little cousins…all of my little cousins wanted to be around me ALL weekend…I couldn’t get away from them if I had wanted to (I didn’t)…and sometime in the middle of getting my impossible-to-get-to-sleep cousin to sleep really easily by reading and singing and trickery (just a nap)…I felt a little twinge of what could become (few years) a major ache in my babymaker…a desire to someday have that little hand belong to someone that lived inside of me…it was the strangest thing…and then she screamed bloody murder for another hour and I decided it would be a while….but the desire is still there.


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