Once upon a time I wanted a big family.
In fact, I never exactly stopped wanting a big family but I married someone who wasn't on board with the boatload of kids plan and as it turned out the money for a big family wasn't exactly there.
I realized today that this could have something to do with my love of throwing parties.
(Maybe I don't have the biggest house on the block but you can bet I squeeze in the most people per square foot!)
Now most of the time I'm not really bothered that I ended up with two little ones instead of four or five or six. Having seen it in action in close quarters, I'm not that romantic about big family life.
Which can be chaotic. Loud. Frustrating. My little brother would go through my stuff. I'd sit on him in retaliation. Who cares if I was 20?
But genetically I think I'm at least halfway predisposed to love it. I guess I like the extremes - you can leave me be or we can yell over each other.
I feel the loss of the big family I might have had most acutely when I get back from Florida and my dad's house.
It's much quieter around there these days, what with siblings growing up, but get a few of us together and our volume goes up. It's rambunctious. People are pelting ice cubes at each other. Someone is getting sprayed with the window cleaner.
Then I come home and it's just... different. Quiet.
This time around I was so happy to come home to a message from an old, dear friend asking if she and her son could come for a short-notice impromptu visit. Absolutely, I said. Bring the noise!
You see, every time I host guests or have a party I'm recreating that big family feeling as best I can. When my business partner Meg came to P.'s last birthday party she looked around and said, "Who ARE all these people?"
In the moment, I jokingly told her I collect friends.
What I should have said was that she was looking at my big - my very big - family.