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  • C.M. O'Slatara

Need over Want

Once there was a young girl who wanted, more than anything, to go to Ireland. The only problem was, this girl was actually a woman with a platter full of responsibilities. And the only thing young about it was that it was a wish-- and a foolish one at that. But she bought the ticket and reserved the cottage anyway, because dreams call, even when it's inconvenient.

There were children that needed her. And when scant few raised their hand to assist her in the care-taking of those children, the doubt started to set in. And in the end, well, let's just say you can't ask two people to hold up your sky while you run to the pub for a week. They have their own skies to hold up.

And so, the trip was canceled. And she-- I-- am rather sad about it. Not sad about the choice, really, because it was what was necessary, and there is some relief in letting go of the vain ridiculousness of pretending it could happen. But sad for the loss of an adventure. Sad to say goodbye to that dream, because the chance to go is not likely to come again.

Ireland was a want of mine. A nearly tangible and aged want. To walk the woods and burren and look for fluorite. To trace the steps on the battlefield of my ancestors. To sit in a pub and listen to music. To find a place where the pines meet the sea by a pebbled shore. But that is all that it was. A want.

I NEED to take care of my family. I need to shepherd them through the lingering shadows of grief and chip away at the layers of isolation they grew during the pandemic. I need to be there and no one else will do. It must be me. Really, I am all that they have. All they can rely on. And while traipsing off on vacation may have shorn up my own sanity, they just weren't ready for me to go.

A need must always take precedence over a want. Even when the want is desperate. Even when the need isn't our own. That is what caring about one another is. That is what family is. And we trust that the sacrifice will be returned in kind. Because one day we will need. And if we have not fed the needs of others, they will not have the strength to feed ours.


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