Robert Frost had it easy. Two roads? I wish. The roads in front of me feel like a knotted super highway, a maze of interconnecting choices, and the cars are speeding past. Believe me. No one seems to have noticed that I am standing here alone on the side of the road, trying to figure out which road. Einy, meeny, miny, moe . . .
So where is the accumulated knowledge from years of living (however ineptly), that is going to help me make the RIGHT decision this time? And why am I finding it so difficult to revel in the fact that there are choices when I know that so many people don’t have any?
Should I learn from the past through regret? What if I had made better decisions all along the way? What if I had studied harder, eaten healthier foods, taken more time to do what I love instead of “being sick” . . . What if I had learned to play the piano better and hadn’t been afraid to be a rebound woman or to speak up? What if I had taken a shower instead of running on slug-filled sidewalks, moved forward in a kiss instead of pulling back from it? What if I hadn’t needed the fence around my heart and the guards and gates and terrifying towers that spun up skyward to protect me? What if the guards were sleepy or lazy or less vigilant and let more people and certain men get past. What if I had crawled into another bed and acknowledged the need for warmth and that sometimes I was afraid? What if I hadn’t waited to really stand up for my desires until they were built up like a hurricane of inner fury and grief that ripped over my being, leaving the houses seeping and too much rubble?
Is a life lived without regret possible? If I faithfully practiced yoga and meditated would all those questionable turns I’ve taken, dissolve like a fog lifting? If mindfulness is the path to enlightenment, I just need someone to tell me which path it is. Please.
Perhaps, as a middle child, I am always attempting to figure out my world by looking at the people on both sides of me. If I start close to home in a family where my parents would have still been married (if my father hadn’t died from cancer), and my my brother and sister have careers and family; it doesn’t give me much to go on.
By habit, I move to my daughter’s sperm donor “father”. I do not know about the roads he has chosen, but they seem to have pretty much destroyed his life. My tendency is to believe that the path he has chosen is not the path I want for my daughter or myself….I think I chose the right path in that case.
K doesn’t ask about him often. But I have told her the truth about him. I think she gets the fact that he has chosen another path. That we….her and I….deserve better.
So I’m standing here without an ounce of trust in my ability to make the RIGHT decision. And a part of me realizes that this highway is an autobahn. Everyone is driving too fast. The on and off ramps don’t comfort me, either. Any road I take is not a good choice without one. I am also not sure how long I will be able to stand at the crossroads. I know that soon I will need to step into the traffic and hope for the best, but my daughter’s hand is small and warm in mine. Shee is looking up at me with those penetrating blue eyes that defy her genetic roots. She trusts me to make the right choice. She is smiling up at me, and I can’t afford to make a mistake.