a family (a cat and person at computer)

A Family’s a Family No Matter How Small (or big)

As my husband and I have been trying for almost 2 years to get pregnant with our second child (it’s been 22 months of trying to be exact), there’s been a lot of time to process and think (and rethink!) over my feelings.

Blogging has been an eye-opening way to chronicle my journey of trying to conceive. As I go back and reread old posts, I can remember the times when I felt hopeful, fully anticipating that pregnancy was going to happen for me at any moment. Then came the shock of hitting the 12-month mark with still no baby – of realizing that I had suddenly become a statistic, the 1 out of every 8 couples dealing with infertility.

After about a year and a half of trying, and after being evaluated and realizing we had some fertility challenges, I started coming to terms with the fact that my husband, son, and I might always be a family of three. I grieved, I accepted, I (mostly) made peace.

I love my family and think we’re pretty great! But I hate feeling like others view us as an “only” family. We “only” have one kid. If “only” our family was different, we would be complete.

There’s no one right way for a family to look – I’m always disappointed when I hear people say things like, “when are you going to have kids?” or “when are you going to get married?” 

What do you mean when? Why do you presume that everyone needs to follow some prescribed path like we’re playing the Game of Life, filling up our little plastic car with pink and blue peg people?

I recently came across the following tweet and have found it so validating:

Yes, a couple is a family. A person living alone can be a family. Roommates can be family. Pets can be family. The friends and people you choose to invite into your life are family. 

Having children is not the only way to be a family. 

As I continue to think about my life of being a mother to “only” one, my sweet son Calvin, I prepare myself for the inevitable comments from “concerned” observers:

Don’t you worry about Calvin becoming spoiled if he’s an only child?

Won’t Calvin be lonely without any brothers or sisters?

You should consider fostering or adoption. 

I think for the most part, people who say these types of things are wanting to be helpful. But I have to say I’ve never found these comments helpful in the least – they are invalidating, insensitive, and offensive. Having kids (or more kids) does not automatically solve problems or make raising a child easier. Most of these issues need intentionality and time to be addressed.  

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Embrace Your Friend’s Stupid Mug Collection

Over the past few years, I’ve gotten a lot more interested in anime. It all started back in 2018 with Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, my gateway to all things anime so to speak, and then my interest hit its peak when I started watching My Hero Academia.

I fell way down the rabbit hole with My Hero Academia (MHA) – I have drunk the Kool-Aid and licked the cup clean. I love all the music in the show and listen to at least one MHA-related song almost daily. I have bought all the manga books available (in English) and am reading through them as they come out. I started collecting items like MHA T-shirts and socks, and Funko pop Izuku Midorias… I went to my first My Hero Academia convention this year and dressed up with my husband. And of course, to top it all off… I got my first tattoo earlier this year, which was My Hero Academia-related: Plus Ultra!

It is not an overstatement to stay that I am a bit obsessed. Otaku much?

I know that I’m pretty extra about My Hero, but I don’t care. I love it. I love how it inspires me, and who it makes me want to be each day. I love being true to myself.

I’ve also loved how others have been willing to accept me despite my obsession. It’s one thing to secretly love something that others might think is lame. It’s another thing for people to embrace it with you.

I will admit, I have some great friends. I have been gifted many My Hero memorabilia items from people simply because they know how much I love the show. I’ve received a Deku pez dispenser, a MHA tote bag, a “That’s not very plus ultra of you” patch, MHA Monopoly, and more. My friends know it’s my thing, and that it’s a part of me – and they accept it. They accept me.

I recently began watching a different anime: Sword Art Online. Wow – I had no idea so many people would have so many feelings about this show. I told a few other anime fans I was watching this show, and they were like, “it’s garbage.” I had just started the show, so I kept waiting for it to get lame. I kept waiting for the point to where I would go, “oh, okay, yeah this is dumb.” But it never came.

Granted, there were some weird things in the show (for example, someone having a crush on their first cousin) but nothing that I found to be a dealbreaker for me. And I’m sure that critically there are some aspects of the show that were not as well done as they could have been. But you know what? I still like the show. I’m currently on season 3. I was told that season 2 was where it would get “weird.” Season 2 was actually one of my favorite story arcs.

So, what does this mean? I initially had some guilt about enjoying Sword Art Online. Literally a guilty pleasure, I suppose. I finally had to get over it and embrace it – which was actually more about embracing myself. Why was I so ashamed to like something others thought was stupid?

Better question: why are we so antagonistic to people who like different things than us?

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