Choose Your Own Adventure

There's a series of books that allow the reader to make decisions for the protagonist.  As the reader learns more, they decide the trajectory of the main character.  Let's say the main character sees a mysterious object in the middle of the road.  Should she pick it up?  Leave it alone?  If you think she picks up the mysterious object in the middle of the road she's traveling, turn to page 76.  If she leaves it alone, continue to the next page.  Each decision leads to another until there is a resolution.  The appeal is that the story is different every time you read it if you're willing to make different decisions, AND that the reader has ultimate control of the story's plot and length.  I loved these stories when I was younger.  These decisions were fun to make.  They had little consequence on my life and I could go back and re-do as many times as I wanted.  As an adult, I realize that this concept is a thing of beauty.  What's not to love about very clear courses of action and the ability to just back and up change your mind at will?  If only real life were that easy to read.

I used to think there had been a mistake, Sweet Girl and Little Man.  Not you guys.  I always knew the two of you were right.  I thought I was wrong.  Or maybe I had done something wrong.  I lived somewhere wrong.  I had treated someone in the wrong manner.  I made my life decisions at the wrong time.  I thought I was wrong for this job of motherhood.  If our lives were a Choose Your Own Adventure story, then I thought I had ended up in the wrong storyline.  One or more of the decisions at the end of a chapter that I had made to this point, were wrong.

I spent a lot of energy trying to figure out the "wrong" so I could make it "right".  I would find my misstep and do it over but this time I'd do it correctly.  That would be better.  Then I would know how to do this the correct and proper way.  I would no longer worry about things my brain knew I could not possibly control.  My heart would no longer ache at the thought of everything to come in your lives. These things wouldn't be an issue because I would have figure out the right way for all that to happen by fixing the heretofore unknown error.  Our adventure would be back on track which would make future adventures easier to adventure.

I spent a lot of tears grieving the adventure I had expected; the one I thought was going to happen.  By the time in your glorious lives that I realized we were on a different kind of adventure, I was too far into my own expectations to understand that a different adventure is just that...different, not wrong.  I couldn't change course easily, and so I wept for my pre-packaged dreams of who you would be and who I would be with you.  I misguidedly mourned the imaginary loss of perfect family portraits, of false modesty at future parent-teacher conferences, of predictable education paths and life trajectories.  I thought these things were what I had chosen for our adventure.  I thought these things were important.  So I cried when I thought that these things had actually been ours to lose. and they had been lost by my wrong decision.  I wept for my choice to jump to the wrong page.

I spent hours trying to figure out how to justify to others this story we are writing.  I wanted our new adventures to seem worthy to anyone else who cared to follow along with our story.  I subconsciously compared us to those that had unlocked the other life I thought we'd lead.  I compared and then I tried to make myself and others more comfortable with the differences.  I thought maybe if I could just put your worth on display - if I could just teach people to see the things I saw - then I'd be back in control of our adventure.  All of these if I could justs might act like my penance for my wrongdoing and then I would be able to choose, predict, handle, adventure what came next.  These are the things I used to think.  I was wrong.

I thought I was wrong for this job. and it's totally possible that I will prove to be so, but I'm figuring it out.  I was wrong not about this joy of getting to be your mom, but about the other things.  So today in our adventure, here are the things that I know; things that are right.  You don't have to prove your worth to have it.  Your differences don't make you less than anyone else and you don't have to waste your energy apologizing to others for them or making up for them in other ways.  You don't have to have a special power to justify being different because being different isn't wrong.  I know that there are people who will always see something wrong in you (the same way they see something wrong in "typical" people) and I know that you don't have to change their minds unless you want to.  I know that rollerskating in the house is necessary and fun to watch.  I know that music is the easiest and prettiest, if not loudest, language.  I know that words like 'poop' and 'fart' make one of you giggle in the best, heart-filling, spirit-soothing kind of way.  I know you try.  Even when it doesn't look like it to those not trained in our kind of adventure, you try.  You try hard.  I know that my heart broke early on for the wrong reasons, but it has grown back together in a better way for the right ones.  I know you have dreams of your own and they make the ones I had for your pale in comparison.  And these dreams you have for yourself, that's the right adventure for you.

I often feel like I owe the two of you an apology.  An apology for the misplaced energy, the wrong kinds of tears, the time I spent trying to undo when I should have been appreciating.  I do owe you that apology and someday we'll talk about that.  But I know you both, and I know that you are quick to forgive (though neither of you are quick to scary detail).  I'd like to think I'm better at this adventure now.  That what I have been misguided about, I have made up for in crazy quantities of crazy love.  I'd like to think that if we could all do this over again, we'd be in approximately the same place.  Maybe I'd skip a few of the choices which were unnecessary or unimportant, but the end result would be mostly the same.  I'd choose you every time.  I'd choose this big love and hard decisions and unpredictable future every time

.  Because no matter how we got here, this is the right place with the right characters.  If I really could choose my own adventure, I'd choose ours.


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