What if I didn't do any laundry today? Would the world come to an end?
What if I didn't do any laundry for a week?
What if Sam never decides to take an interest in potty training? Do they make enormous-sized diapers, or will he have to go straight into juvenile-sized Depends incontinence pants?
What if Gabe actually potty-trains before Sam? Will that light a fire under Sam's bottom (which makes for an interesting visual, considering the topic)?
What if these two kids end up like my brother and I did, fighting like cats and dogs almost right up until I left for college? What if they end up like Eric and his brother, with Sam in a "protector" role and nobody allowed to beat up Gabe...except Sam himself?
What if we never had this unplanned pregnancy? Would we have ever had a second child at all?
What if Gabriel had been a girl, like everybody thought he was? Could I possibly be happier with a child than I am with the perfect one I got? (Somehow, I don't think so. Somehow, I know it's impossible.)
What if we had gotten pregnant right away the first time? Would the child we might have had then hold a candle to Sam?
(What if I stop using fire images and analogies with regards to my electricity-curious preschooler, hmm?)
What if we hadn't moved to Wisconsin? Would I still be staying at home with my boys, or would I have had to return to work? Would our happiness at being in that beautiful house, with nearby friends and a shorter trip to our families, balance out the added stress of a tighter budget and uncertainty in Eric's employment?
What if Eric has that vasectomy this Christmas, like he's considering? Is it the right decision? What if I don't feel "done" like he does?
What if Gabe screams the entire time we're on the airplane? What if the other passengers stage a battle and throw us out the emergency exit?
What if something goes wrong with our airplane? I always have that fear in my head, anyway; will I be able to control it while holding a baby on my lap the whole time?
What if Sam gets sick again this Christmas? Will the meds and the inhaler keep him feeling healthy this time?
What if this is the last Christmas we get to spend with Eric's family intact?
What if, even if Rita is with us next year, Sam starts feeling upset about not being in his own home for Christmas morning? When does one start not going "back home" for the holidays and start just being home?
What if we could move back closer to our families? Would we start trying to host holidays in our house?
What if Eric had to relocate even further away? Would it even make a difference at this point?
What if we'd never moved to Ohio at all? What if I'd gone somewhere else for grad school, or if I'd even decided to take a break before doing my master's work?
What if we'd decided to wait until after I was done with school to get married? What if Eric hadn't gone with me to Ohio, and I'd gotten to live on my own for those few years? Would I be a more well-rounded person? Would I be better with money and organization? Would we have children yet? Would we even still be together?
That last "what if" is the one that really haunts me. Of all the major decisions I've ever made, I honestly can't see changing a single one (without foresight of what was to come, that is; I mean, if I could have seen the future, we wouldn't have bought this house, but we made what we felt was the right decision based on everything we could possibly have known) - except that one. I still don't know if it was the right call, rushing into marriage right after graduation and then flitting off to a distant state. I was only twenty-one; Eric was twenty-three. If I had been a bystander, I'd probably have told myself that I was being foolish. I'd have had a good point. I've never lived alone. I've never taken care of just myself, and many of my character flaws probably stem from that fact.
But if I'd decided to put off the wedding, would we have lasted long-distance? Where would we be now if we had? What would Eric have done in the meantime? Of course, we wouldn't have Sam or Gabe, and that chills me to my core. I wouldn't know that we didn't have them, though. Would I have been happier?
It's a good thing we can't go back and change the past. I don't know what I'd do, and I doubt I ever will.
November's WordGoddess collaboration: "What if."
one year ago:
Not only did I get to be awake and aware during my worst nightmare, but now I'm in utter agony.
two years ago:
I'll cry because this will be the first Thanksgiving we'll have spent apart since we've been married.
three years ago:
When I was in fourth grade, our major assignment was to write a book.
four years ago:
"How can they not know?" she whispered. "I can tell that you're pregnant from across the room!"
five years ago:
I'm still fertile, and I haven't had this much sex in years.