I’m quite certain Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit were in on the advent of my birth, which was the beginning of The Growth of the Newbury Family. Yes, yes, I realize that They are in on the creation of every human being, but for comedy’s sake – I really do believe that they conspired in my birth.
Have I mentioned that I don’t like crowds? Actually, that’s not true – I like anonymous crowds. Downtown Indy during the Superbowl, London during Christmas season, Bangkok on New Years’ Eve. Those crowds I like. Crowds I know, crowds where people expect a response, a conversation, possibly some un-stilted interaction? Excuse me, there’s a corner calling my name.
I come from one of the loudest families I know. Absolute chaos. There are 7 siblings, 2 in-laws, 3 grandchildren, 2 parents, often a significant other and an unmentionable number of strays (both human and animal) thrown into the madness at any given moment. You think I jest? No, I don’t.
While Thanksgiving ended up being quite enjoyable, there was more than one moment when I stared at the mass of humanity – 80% of which are my blood relatives – and wanted nothing more than to walk out the door. So. Many. People. So many. So many little hands reaching up, demanding an answer; so many messes; so many ideas; so many noises; so much confusion; so much chaos. If they weren’t my family, I can assure you I would have left directly after dinner. Not from an issue with anyone, just a need for space.
I didn’t leave, though, and I’m glad. I’m glad because now I know what my niece acts like when she’s worn herself out beyond comprehension (she throws her blanket over her shoulder, and walks in a 9 inch circle like a madwoman). I’m glad because at the end of Friday, when there had been just enough moments of calm for me to regain perspective, I got to go shopping with my brother- and torment him as only an only sister can. I’m glad because I got to cook in the kitchen with my sister, while my brother-in-law made mulled wine and we all chatted. I’m glad because my nieces know who I am now, and I’m not a stranger. I’m glad, because when I really just wanted peace and quiet – instead I got a family. I’m glad because now I have a stockpile of memories of cozy, comfortable and cheerful moments in my mother’s kitchen. I’m glad because choosing to stay, instead of leaving from the awkward panic rising in my throat was the right decision.
I’m glad because I almost gave it up, out of frustration and anger and awkwardness and exhaustion. And instead I got to watch my nieces throw adoring arms around their uncles, connecting with them in a way I never did with my aunts or uncles. I’m glad that I have a chaotic family, because they tug me out of every comfortable moment I desire – and show me something better, funnier, bigger than myself.
Still, I’m pretty sure placing me in this enormous melting pot of loud humanity was truly a joke that only the Heavens can appreciate.