Would you rather make your own choices or have someone make them for you?
That's the writing "inspiration" we received for today's NaBloPoMo post. Wow. If you knew my whole history, you would know that's a perfect question for me to ask myself. I have a history of not actually making choices, but letting things happen to me. Or more like procrastinating so long that I'm out of choices and there's only one thing left to do.
Take for instance, having my daughter alone at the tender age of twenty. I didn't want any other opinions influencing my decision, so I didn't tell anyone until I was nearly six months pregnant. I was living in Kalamazoo with several roommates, any one of whom I could have told, but I kept it to myself. I wasn't ready to face the reality of what would come next; telling my family. It was so easy to hide being away, and living with frequently drunken women apparently, because nobody ever guessed. But whether or not I was ready to tell my secret to the world, she continued to grow. Whether or not I was ready to be a mother, I was blessed with the most delightful daughter. Whether or not I was the best mother, or perhaps despite having me as a mother, she has blossomed into a spectacular woman who is a college graduate and who is getting married later this year.
Our restaurant is another example of one of my anti-choices. Owning a restaurant was a dream my husband had long before we met, when he was a firefighter/paramedic/police officer and used to cook in the firehouse. When we were living in a southwest suburb of Chicago, two states away from his daughter, the second daughter I've been so very blessed to have (also a spectacular woman, despite having me as a step-mother), the restaurant represented a purpose for coming home. That I wanted to do. I didn't like our family being so fractured, and I didn't like being away from my hometown, and I rather liked the idea of us building something and working on something together. I dreamed of myself handling the front of the house, my husband handling the back of the house, and us working beautifully together. The reality hit when three months after we opened he received a job offer in his field, and suddenly I was running the restaurant solo.
When I did make a conscious choice to have a baby together with my husband, nature seemed at every turn to tell me no. It took six years of dogged determination on my part: a miscarriage, hormones, surgeries, drastically changing my diet, changing everything I'd believed before about health, baby making and child raising and unapologetic-ly driving my family absolutely crazy. But without all of that, there would be no Aidan, and I think the world would miss him. I know our family would.
Flash forward to moving to San Diego last year; leaving behind my hometown, our house of twelve years, our extended families all living within an hour, being able to get to our daughters within 24 hours, and a multitude of friends for my husband, myself and our son, and my poor husband is forced to drag me nearly kicking and screaming across the country. That was a long drive, and it only got longer the closer we got to the west coast.
I look back and see many occasions in my life when I've been little more than a passive bystander. I've been angry at others and blamed them for taking away my power, when it was really I who gave it away. It's only taken me 45 years to recognize that. The Pokey Little Puppy strikes again.
Whether I consciously make a choice, or allow others to make it for me, it is always my choice as to how I handle the results. There have been times I've made good choices, and times I've handled things rather poorly. I think I always come around eventually, but seriously, isn't it just easier when I'm happy?