Have you ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book? I remember reading these as a kid. If you are unfamiliar with the books, as the reader, you essentially get to choose from a few options every chapter or so. Ultimately it leads you to one of many endings. While I loved reading this style of book, admittedly I found it a bit nerve-racking. My impatience started young unfortunately.
“Perhaps I’ll skip forward a bit to see what happens if I choose this…”
“What if I make the wrong decision?”
“The good news is I can go back and start over if I don’t like the direction it goes.”
As much as it tested my patience and decision-making skills, I found myself checking out more and more Choose Your Own Adventure books from the library. The definition of insanity is most certainly doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I may have been on the verge, my friends.
What if life were really like that? What if we could go back and make different decisions to see how life might turn out?
We recently watched About Time and (spoiler alert) the likable main character had the ability to travel back in time. He could only go back to moments in his life and make different decisions…to choose a different adventure. In the end he learned that all the decisions he made the first time were for a reason. He learned that instead of living in the past and reliving days that weren’t quite what he needed them to be, he would live each day with intention. He stopped time traveling and decided to live each day as if he could not.
I from time to time, I ponder, although careful not to question. I feel there is a difference between the two. I wonder how making even one decision differently would have changed my life, our lives…her life.
What if we had decided not to have a second baby?
What if we hadn’t chosen life for her?
What if we didn’t share her story?
What if, what if, what if?
I look back at 2014 and if it was actually a Choose Your Own Adventure book, I would do it all again. I wouldn’t change a thing, I wouldn’t make a different decision. There are some things, sure, like why didn’t I hire a photographer to come to the hospital and capture her? And I would have done more to show our appreciation to the doctors and nurses. Oh, and I would have taken more video of her. But the big things? Nope, wouldn’t change it.
Most of the Choose Your Own Adventure books were just that, they were adventures. They took place under the sea, dark in a cave or deep in a forest with spies, unicorns and dragons. The Story of Audrey sure feels like an adventure, but instead of magical unicorns, we saw medical superheroes, a loud explosion in our world was actually the sound of a plummeting heart rate monitor and instead of the story ending with a slayed dragon, this one is about a tiny pair of earned angel wings and a tale that goes on and on.
These are the types of books I want Cooper to read. Absolutely I want him to have a wild imagination and to cultivate his creativity. But what if Random House created a Choose Your Own Adventure line of books about real life and real decisions. Fiction? Yes. But based on what “tweens” are actually faced with. I’m sure these books exist and I will seek them out for our favorite boy. Heck, maybe there are versions out there for adults. Hey Nicholas Sparks, write one and I’ll be its most devoted promoter!
We can’t go back, none of us can do it again. But, we do get to go and grow. Even if I could protect Cooper from ever making a “poor” decision, I wouldn’t. It is a part of each of us, the good, the bad and the ugly. I am a very imperfect human and glad for it. It is quite humbling but gives me a reason to ask for forgiveness and do better tomorrow.
Audrey taught us all that tomorrow is never promised and that today is a gift. Spend it wisely and use it well.
Love & hugs,