Teddy Bear Tins

October 16, 2010

Alternate Endings

I may be dating myself here, but does anyone remember those Goosebumps series books by RL Stine that were popular back in the 90s?

I very clearly remember a summer vacation spent chilling out reading books to count toward my summer reading list, and there was this Goosebumps book that had pick-your-own endings. You'd start reading the story, then it'd come to a point where you had to choose a detail about the story, and that directed you to the next pages to read, until ultimately you had made your own ending. I was intrigued, and I'm pretty sure I tried every combination of choices until I had read every ending (I may be OCD...)

Anyway, lately I can't get that memory out of my head... of me choosing and reading all these different possible endings to the story.

Our baby is due to arrive in two weeks or less, and I'm definitely in that stage where I'm trying to picture how this is all going to end (or start, depending on how you look at it). I'm friends with a number of other ladies due around the same time, and I watch as they discuss everything that they are anticipating once their babies arrive. They've bought outfits, have arranged to have friends stop by and get pictures taken. They worry about whether their husband will remember to include the right strap covers with the new car seat, or if he'll forget and leave the boring tan stock covers on.

And I feel like I'm stuck at the end of a page in that book, and I know there are two possible ways to continue, but for some reason I only see one of them no matter how hard I look. I can't find what page I'm supposed to go to in order to read what these ladies are talking about. That ending is just... missing for me.

But the OTHER ending, that one I can almost recite without having to turn the page. I know every detail, if that is our ending, if our baby doesn't make it. The details of what leads to that being the ending aren't clear, but I know that I'd want pictures, and hand and foot prints, and I'd call friends to ask them to grab a blank Teddy Bear Tin from home for me to use, and that later I'd find a special person to paint it for us. And I'd want a funeral so family could see this child and remember him. I know what music I'd want at the service. I can picture the years after.

This baby will be our first. So realistically I know that even if this alternate ending wasn't so easy for me to picture clearly, I'd really still not be able to predict what it will be like if baby does make it here safely. I guess it just feels disproportionate - I have trouble imagining the happy ending because there is an obvious reality to me on the other side which keeps my head out of the clouds.

So what do I do with this? What do I do when my mind starts looping through this book with the alternate ending that I don't seem to be able to find?

That answer is simple for me now...

I just let go.

Because there is absolutely no way for me to control what is going to happen. And there is absolutely no point in becoming frustrated with not being able to see the ending we really want. Because at the end of the day, there's a bigger picture that already exists that I'd be completely missing if I focused on the what-ifs.

My son is already here with me. Literally with me. I feel him rolling around and hiccuping and kicking me. He is alive and here RIGHT NOW. And every moment with him, whether it's in my belly or outside, is just as precious. So my way of handling these last few weeks, when the tendency is to picture the scarier ending, is to take the lesson that I shouldn't let anticipation replace appreciation for what I already have.

And just let everything else go.