Category Archives: Family

Reverb10: Moment

Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (By Ali Edwards)

Wow.  This is definitely the most challenging prompt for me so far with Reverb10.  My first thought was, have I even had a moment where I felt truly alive?  And does a moment when you feel “alive” automatically have to be a happy moment?  I don’t necessarily think it does — I think you can feel alive because a moment is excruciatingly painful.  But how do I pick a moment in a year that has felt busy but not necessarily full of life?

The moments that have come to mind include the birth of my second nephew, the MS 150 bike ride, and finishing the OKC Half-Marathon.  Those are the things that stand out most in my mind, but I don’t know if they really encapsulate feeling alive to me.

There is a day that really stands out to me — not a moment really, but a series of moments over the course of a few hours — that made me feel alive in a very raw way.  On November 17th, my family learned that my dad has prostate cancer.  Fortunately, it was discovered in its earliest stage and is very treatable.  And as horrible as I felt that day, it isn’t the one that stands out to me.

5 days later, my dad completed his 6th Marathon in our home town along historic Route 66.  And my mom, sister, brother, nephews and I were all there to cheer him along the way.  As a family, we have all completed various physical feats over the years and we have always supported each other through them.  But this time was so different.  My sister and I made signs with his picture on them to put up all over the race route and we walked several miles to make sure we could see him at different mile markers on the route.  And we were all there together, fragile.

Running is an incredibly emotional sport for me — every time I finish a half-marathon I cry — and watching my dad, who I have always naively thought of as invincible, run his last big race before starting cancer treatment, I felt more proud and more heart-broken than I ever have before.  The intellectual part of me understands that although any type of cancer is to be taken seriously, the odds are on my dad’s side and that he will very likely be okay.  The emotional part of me just keeps thinking, “But that’s my dad.”

The day was warm (for November) and muggy and windy and gray and oh-so-Oklahoma and the nervous energy among the spectators waiting for their loved ones to come around the last corner crackled in the thick air.  The smell of dead leaves and sweat lingered around the finish line, which buzzed with the activity of passing out medals and taking pictures.  And I got to see my dad finish the race.  Watching him run up the last little hill and say “I DID IT!” (just like my previous nephew always does) made my heart burst in an inexplicably bittersweet way.  I know that my mom and sister and brother all felt that exact feeling and in those moments at the end of the race we were all closer and more connected than we’ve been in a very long time.  As a family, we were alive.

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Baby on board?

Image Source.

No, I do NOT have a baby board, but my sister is having one on Friday (Woohooooo!), and as previously discussed, I live in America’s heartland, the buckle of the Bible belt, land of waving wheat and procreation.  Or so I always thought…

I have always known that I wanted kids.  Well, maybe I should rephrase that, I have never questioned whether or not I would have kids.  To me, it always felt like a given — you grow up, you get married, you have kids.  I’ve kept lists of potential names for them since I was ten years old.  I never envisioned my adult future sans children.

In light of this seemingly black and white view, I also never considered the possibility that my friends would not have children.  I vividly remember a conversation in law school in which Mrs. Preppy stated that she didn’t know if she wanted to have kids and Mrs. V proclaimed that she and Mr. V definitely would not have children.  This was the first time in my life that any of my friends even mentioned the idea that they would not have children.  It sort of blew my mind.  I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with choosing not to have children, but I never expected my nearest and dearest to make that choice — why this never occurred to me is really an unknown.  I suppose I thought everyone else just felt the same way I did about it.

I read an article recently about why more women are choosing not to have children, and it posed a really interesting question — Why do you want to have children?  Honestly, I don’t know that I can articulate a specific reason for you, or more appropriately, for myself. Should I have them just because I want them even though I don’t know why I want them?

My friends who do not want children or who seem to be on the fence about having them can usually tell you at least three reasons why they fall on the no-kids side of things.  But I, who has wanted children for as long as I can remember, can’t really pinpoint why I want them? Well, that’s a little scary.  And if my friends aren’t going to have any kids, do I want to be the one who misses out on the fun adult things they get to do because I have kids? (Not that I think having kids means giving up your adult social life completely, but let’s be real, there are serious priority changes involved in having a family.)

As much as it alarms me that I can pinpoint why I want to have children, I still know that I do.  I have no idea where it comes from — society, hormones, religion, my family, TV, etc. — but there is a desire deeply ingrained in me to have children.  To hold them and love them and raise them and teach them and be taught by them.  But I also know now that having children isn’t for everyone.  The reasons for not wanting to have children are just as valid (if not more so) than my reasons (or lack thereof) for wanting to have them.

Do you want to have kids? Or not? What are the reasons you do or don’t want to procreate?  Does it surprise you to learn that some of your friends don’t want to have kids?

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