Friday, January 25, 2013 • 5:42 AM Comments ()

Families Aren't Always What We Think They'll Be

posted by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

I spent a quiet day away from my peeps. By the end of it, I realized how much good a little quiet can do for a gal. I did some tiny things like exercise and get a pedicure and light a candle.

In my toiletry bag I found that I have about three matches left in a matchbox I got at my friends’ wedding over a decade ago. You can take this to mean that I don’t travel much, don’t light many matches, and really do hold onto things). The sight of the matchbox made me think of them. They got married at a very Southern country club and now they live in Asia. We all hold complexities within us. They love each other even more now than a decade ago, and that’s the happiest part—and it was a joyous wedding. The purchase of a candle for my toiletry bag was genius (thanks, really, to another friend, recently crazed for candles). Candles are delightful. I must remember to get some more matches into my toiletry bag so I can have candlelight whenever I go away from home.

Although I fear it may take me the entire year, I started to read Andrew Solomon’s Far From The Tree. I’m not all that far into it and can already declare it a completely fantastic thing to read. My mind is spinning and I’m only on chapter two.

I don’t read enough books. The feel of a book, even an inanely thick and heavy one, is so very nice. I am enjoying the heft on my lap.

Meantime, because the 40th anniversary of Roe happened this week, I wrote a couple of essays in its honor. One at the Broad Side connects that anniversary with another: that of the children’s classic Free to Be You and Me, subject of a recent (and very fun) anthology (which I’ve just read). If I were to boil the essay down to a sentence I’d say I argue for more joy about women’s agency—and hence equality.

The other essay, on Huffington Post Parents, is about how families so often aren’t entirely “planned.” In a way, my politics and my passion come together in just about 800 words here, something I can rarely make happen. That’s my way of saying to you to go read it!

And then, maybe, pick up a book.

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