Wednesday, July 13, 2011

He Always Asks the Hard Questions

"If you could, would you do it over differently?"

I can't remember where we were now, perhaps in the car, him in the back seat, me in the front, but the question pierced through my heart. The question that I have been waiting to answer for 16 and a half years. The question that I have tried to answer in so many subtle ways over the years, hoping that I could impress upon him how much I love him and how grateful I am that he's in my life.

I took a deep breath and answered, "No, I would not." Without missing a beat, he said, "Why not?"

I went on with the usual explanation of how if I went back and did anything different, he wouldn't be here. Nor would his sister. I told him that my life might now have turned out the way that I thought it was going to, and I may have gone down a different road than I intended, but because of that, I was blessed with the two of them, and their father. I told him that I never regretted having him for one second. That I might have been scared and unready, but never for one millisecond did I ever consider him not being here.  He didn't say anything, and that conversation has stuck with me.

Today, while I was up the hill picking blueberries in the sunshine, a song on my iPod jarred this conversation into my brain. I thought about the question again, and realized that I had heard it wrong. Because I have always been afraid that he would think I made a mistake by being pregnant at 19 and think that I blamed him for the way my life has turned out, that was what I heard when he asked the question. Thinking about it today, separated from the event and  having had a few weeks pass, I realize he was asking something else. He was thinking about college, and school and his future, and he wanted to know if I could go back, would I do it over? Would I go to college and have what he considers a "better job" and maybe a better life for myself. In the quiet of the morning, with the birds chattering away in the background, I thought about that question. I let my mind wonder about what I might have done and where I might have gone and where I might be now.

If he were here, I would tell him the answer is still no. I may not have done all, or any of the things that I hoped that I could do.... but here is where I was intended to be. Right here, doing what I am doing. Maybe some days I get it wrong (ok, maybe a lot of days)... but I wouldn't change any of it. Without the past, I wouldn't be growing into the person I am today. I might have a long way to go, but I am getting there.

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