You go through life making choices all day long. Lots of small ones and on occasion some really BIG ones - like what to make for dinner. Ok, I struggle with that one quite often, but honestly I'm talking the really important decisions; the ones we make for our children. What school should I send my little angel to next fall? When can they go on their first date? Should I get divorced?
As a divorced Mom, married to a Man with Kids, I've had the benefit of most of my decisions second guessed and debated by the Monday Morning Quarterback - an Ex Spouse, their current Spouse, Ex Wives and their current spouse.
Then you answer the phone one afternoon and realize that none of those decisions really mattered. Whatever control you thought you had when it came to your kids was all just an illusion. On the other end of the line was a strong male voice, a Neurologist thousands of miles away. A man I had never met and one that had met my daughter less than an hour earlier - asking me to make the biggest decision of my child's life in less time than it takes my cup of tea to steep.
Elle is in her junior year at College, a five hour plane ride away. I wait nervously by the phone as her roommate texts and calls with updates. Checked in, exam from the doctor, a CT scan. Then a phone call from the ER Doctor, "your Daughter has bleeding on the brain, we are admitting her to the Neurological ICU for further evaluation..............get on a plane." It was something after all.
The next flight is at 5:00 p.m. - six hours away - a lifetime in worry minutes. Elle will have an Angiogram in the meantime - then another call (still two hours away from my flight takeoff). The Neurosurgeon "Your Daughter has bleeding on the brain from a Cerebral Hemorrhage......"
Elle needed surgery now! Not when I got there - Not after I gave her a hug and kiss and told her everything would be alright. Nope. The minute we hung up the phone she would be whisked into surgery.
Two options; do a temporary fix with the possibility of Elle ending right back at this moment. Or a permanent fix - more invasive -more dangerous - more risks of complications. I sense the doctor's urgency in his voice. The OR is prepped waiting for Elle and HER decision about what type of surgery we will be performing.
It strikes me that my Daughter is 20 years old now, she doesn't need my permission, nor is the Dr. required to ask for my opinion, let alone follow my choice. Elle is reaching out because she's not sure which side of the fence to land on and wants MY advice.
The Doctor reviews both procedures again - this time with extreme urgency in his voice - rattling off the pros and cons to my Hubby and me. Second time is a charm for Raylan, he agrees to the permanent solution.
Still unsure, I ask the doctor "If she were your child, what procedure would you chose?" He says without hesitation - "the permanent solution." Without missing a beat I agree to the permanent solution. The Doctor says he will pass our decision along to Elle.
There has never been, nor will there ever be a decision as important as the one I made that afternoon, not to mention the record speed in which I made it. As parents we spend so much of our lives thinking that if we can just make the "perfect" decision/choice we can somehow avoid heartache, hurt, fear for both our kids and ourselves by doing so.
The truth is no matter how long we spend making a decision - no matter how much we try to control the circumstances for optimal success and happiness - life is in control of the ship. All we can do is attempt to steer the vessel in the optimal direction, based upon our best information of the facts at the moment of decision. Then hope and pray for smooth waters ahead.