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.