Sunday, November 25, 2012


I've spent the past few days thinking about family. As in: I love my family. And: I want a family of my own. As much fun as it can be being with my siblings and their little families, it can also start to hurt. I was supposed to do this first, or at least with them. I love my nieces and nephews. I love to play with them and hold them and spoil them. I don't even mind being tied up by them (Sam has decided that he's a pirate and someone taught him the word "dungeon"). But at the end of the holiday, they go home with their parents and my siblings go home with their spouses and I go home to a basement bedroom that's filled with everything but people.

I have stacks of wedding magazines quietly sitting on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. I have pinned an embarrassing number of wedding-related items on two Pinterest boards. I have a (small) trunk full of baby clothes and board books and a few art prints perfect for a child's bedroom.

I keep these things, the magazines and the baby clothes and the hope that someday I'll get to use them, but I have also been pursuing graduate degrees and full-time jobs. I revel in my me-time and the independence of my schedule and the few hours I take each day to people-detox.

There is a sense out there (and I point randomly to the world outside my front door) that these worlds are mutually exclusive. That I have to be a wife and a mother or that I have to have an education and a job. And maybe they're right--I have no way of knowing, of measuring what these things require--but the desires certainly are not mutually exclusive. I love learning and I want to do the best I can and I admit that I'm getting excited to have a career, and a successful one at that. At the same time, I want to meet someone and have a home and a family. I know that sacrifices will be required, that you can't have it all at once. But you can, in your lifetime, have it all. I've seen brilliant women balance family and career. I've also seen brilliant men and women sacrifice the "best" career as measured by the world for the "best" career for their family. It's a sacrifice that I've thought a lot about, one that I hope I get to make someday.


Renaissance Girl said...

Of course it can be done. And anyone who tells you that if you pursue your own academic/ intellectual program you are cutting yourself off from the joys of family life has some entrenched 1950s agenda to shove down you. It's really hard to find someone that satisfies all the parts of one's psyche--emotions, eros, intellect, spirit--and it can take a long time. Maybe even SHOULD take a long time, so as not to settle for the first best option that comes along. (Though I should also say that I'm a firm believer that all our mistakes help us to make better choices down the road, and are themselves valuable and worth celebrating.) I think the problem may be your location, which suggests a ticking time-bomb of a timetable for life-milestones.

Anna B said...

evidence #one zillion that you are amazing: you will totally rock both worlds.

you make law school so cool that i want to go. well, mostly i just want to hang out with you and distract you from studying.

there's a rothko exhibit in town and i was thinking today: "i wish sarah were here to go with me"

Joni said...

Can I just say how much I love this? I so relate. I had the exact same experience with my family this Thanksgiving. It's sometimes harder to keep my resolve that if I'm single forever I don't care when I see my younger siblings and cousins coming home from missions and getting married in more or less the same breath.

erin said...

I'm glad you wrote this. I had a really rough Thanksgiving for that same reason. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Meg said...

Sarah you are absolutely amazing. Your post brought tears to my eyes because I love you so much. You will be able to have the best of both worlds. One day there will be a handsome man that comes along and deserves you. And until then you will kick butt in law school and start your career and be the most incredible aunt ever.

Anna B said...

so, i was in guadaloupe with my parents this last week (they are missionaries right now) and my mom and i spent lots of time looking at wedding dresses. why? no reason. except because.


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