“Dear God,” she prayed, “let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry…have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”—
This weekend I was an only child for the first time in 19 years. Steve and Dan spent the weekend with my aunt and uncle to help them move into their new house. I had some things to do at home so I stayed. It was quite the experience. I got to go to dinner with my parents alone, pick what movie to watch in the evening, and spent the day biking in Canada. The house was quite, relaxing and a heck of a lot cleaner than usual. It was nice.
I think that this is the part where I am supposed to say that I desperately missed my brothers and waited anxiously by the door for them to return. I didn’t. I love my brothers but definitely could have done the only child thing a few more days. I did however miss a little bit of chaos. The house WAS a little too quiet. The lack of running clothes everywhere made the house look a little TOO neat. And truth be told it is not nearly as fun to cook for three as it is for 7 (Steve and Dan each count as two when cooking because they eat so much).
I think that there are many advantages to being an only child: more alone time and conversation with parents and more opportunities due to time and financial restraints placed on a larger family. If parented right only children are usually awesome people! I have often noticed that I am friends with a disproportionate number of them!
However, given the choice (and I know that it’s not always a choice), I would prefer to have a large family. When I think about my prospective future family, I see four, five… six(?) Kids all babbling at once at the dinner table, family road trips where the last inch of the van is filled with luggage and people, and a row of shiny lunch boxes waiting to be taken to the bus stop. I see bunk beds and bike parades and a birthday party every other month. I know it’s not all roses; bigger families cost more, kids may not have all of the opportunities given to an only child and they are bound to get in arguments with their siblings. But what can I say, I like a crowd! I enjoy a little bit of chaos to organize… I guess that’s the first born in me.
I woke up this morning randomly homesick for the lake. I want to cook with Uncle Bill and Aunt Chris. I want to play lawn games with my cousins. I am looking forward to driving around with Pop-pop on the golf cart and listening to his stories. I can’t wait to go swimming off the boat and fling myself into the icy water. I want to take Chloe for a walk around the circle and say hello to the neighbors who have known me since I was born. I want to sit around the campfire toasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories. Summer here I come!
“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.”—Florence Nightingale
“I want to try with someone who loves me enough to try with me. I want to grow old looking at the same face every morning. I want to grow old looking at the same face every night at the dinner table. I want to be one of those old couples you see still holding hands and laughing after fifty years of marriage. That’s what I want. I want to be someone’s forever.”—Rachel Gibson (The Trouble With Valentine’s Day)
“Think about how many people had to meet, fall in love, and make love for you to be here. Here’s the answer: A lot. Like a lot a lot.
Before they had you, none of your ancestors drowned in a pond, got strangled by a python, or skied into a tree. None of your ancestors choked on a peach pit, were trampled by buffalo, or got their tie stuck in an assembly line.
None of your ancestors was a virgin.
You are the most modern, brightest spark of years and years and years of survivors who all had to meet each other in order to eventually make you.
Your nineteenth century Grandma met your nineteenth century Grandpa down at the candle-making shoppe. She liked his muttonchops and he thought she looked cute churning butter.
Your Middle Ages Grandpa met your Middle Ages Grandma while they both poured hot oil from the castle turrets on pillaging vikings. She liked his grunts and he thought the flowers in her hair made her heaving bosoms jump out.
Your Ice Age Grandpa crossing the Bering Bridge in a woolly mammoth fur met your Ice Age Grandma dragging a club in the opposite direction. He liked her saber-tooth necklace and she dug his unibrow.
Your ancient rainforest Grandpa was picking berries naked in the bush while your ancient rainforest Grandma was spearing dodos for dinner. She liked his jungle funk and he liked her cave drawings. If it wasn’t for the picnic they had afterwards, maybe you wouldn’t be here.
You’re pretty lucky all those people met, fell in love, made love, had babies, and raised them into other people who did it all over again. This happened over and over and over again for you to be here. Look around the plane, coffee shop, or park right now. Look at your husband snoring in bed, your girlfriend watching TV, or your sister playing in the backyard. You are surrounded by lucky people. They are all the result of long lines of survivors.
So you’re a survivor, too. You’re the latest and greatest. You’re the top of the line. You’re the very best nature has to offer.
But a lot had to happen before all your strong, fiery ancestors met each other and fell in love over and over again for hundreds of thousands of years …”—1000 Awesome Things
“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.”—