I just arrived in Boca Raton, Florida yesterday and I can’t help but feel that something’s different. There are the obvious things, like this year it’s just me, my dad, and Justin (and the pistol lady, if you consider her a person) celebrating the holidays together. But it feels like more than that. While there’s less drama and fewer people threatening each other’s lives, somehow it makes this house seem dead.
Gone is sitting around the dinner table taking turns making Kevin cry by simultaneously frowning and pointing a finger in his direction. Gone is playing hide-and-seek with Dad and Lily on one team, Justin and I on the other. Gone is family ping-pong (“If you hit Lily with the ball, it’s an extra five points!”). Gone is Justin and I trying to throw hangers off the second-floor balcony and get them stuck on the ledge across the room. Gone is Justin and I accidentally getting the boomerang stuck in the column by the front doors and throwing coconuts at it to dislodge it (and finally succeeding with the swimming pool pole). Gone are New Year’s Eve fireworks with Lily in my lap scared kimchee-less.
You know what I really miss? Family. When you have a large family, you are always closer to certain members than others. But if any one of them is missing, it’s just not the same. I miss last summer in China terribly, with a full house of father, three half-siblings, grandma, great-aunt, and cousin. Also, Justin is very rarely in the house anymore because of school and golf. Even when he is, though, he’s at that age where I can’t go “Justin, want to help me make orange juice?!” and have a party.
I truly believe that the happiest time in life is when you have a household of children 1-8 years old — the more, the merrier. Then they hit 9 and become Big Kids and adults are suddenly uncool. Sigh.
It’s probably because I grew up as an only child that I crave loud, chaotic and disastrous families so much. My friends with siblings always used to tell me that I was lucky and that they hated their siblings. But they were so wrong! The grass is definitely greener on the multiple siblings side. Growing up as an only child means:
- When Mom is in a bad mood, you’re the one and only punching bag.
- When you’re in a fight with Mom, the house is dead silent and the tension is deadly.
- Every meal consists of only one dish because there are only two people to eat it.
- You don’t have enough people to play Poker.
- Nobody will watch True Blood with you. Or Lost!
I swear the only reason I want children is to give them the childhood I would have wanted and live vicariously through them. Okay, who am I kidding? I just want to be one of them. Phineas? Ready to be mother and father to all of us? Sweet!
Does it make me an incredibly senile 19-year-old that all I want is my own family? Like, not right now, obviously. But I kid you not — I don’t dream about all-night parties, shopping ’til I drop, or sexy Frenchmen. I dream about strollers, furniture stores, pots and pans, gardening, KITCHEN KNIVES. Yes, there’s definitely something wrong with me. I’m so old! Hey, but in my defense, I only want all those Old People Things so that I can be a kid again. Tout va bien.