The Road Not Taken

We celebrated my 40th birthday this week and I reflected on what’s happened and the what ifs.

T and I recently read a picture book adaptation of Robert Frost’s classic poem “The Road Not Taken,” beautifully illustrated by Vivian Mineker.

The poem presents the character, out for a walk in the woods, with a fork in the road. The character decides which road to take and the question is then, what if they took the other path?

There certainly were key points in my life where I had to make decisions about which path to take: which university, which career, which person to spend my life with, which home to live in.

As an enthusiast of science fiction, I amuse myself at the thought of parallel universes where multiple versions of my life live out based on different decisions I make.

One of the most important decisions the hubby and I made was to start a family.

We began this process in our late 20s, attending a wonderful workshop series called Papas and Daddies 2B.

Almost 7 years after we began the adoption journey with no progress, we were ready to call it quits, when we received a call out of the blue from Children’s Aid Society.

Not only were we presented with one match for a child, but we were presented with two matches!

The first child was a 14-month old boy whose birth mother had admitted to drinking during her first three months of pregnancy and consumed hard drugs throughout her pregnancy.

The second child was a 4-year-old Chinese and Iranian child, who had faced severe neglect. I still get haunted by the description of the child who’d often be left alone while his parents partied.

We were given very little time to decide which child to adopt. It was a hard decision, but we decided to adopt the younger child, our T.

I am a firm believer about life working out the way it should and that you are meant to meet the people that you are to meet and to have the opportunities and challenges that you face.

But I did think recently about the 4-year-old that could’ve been our son.

In a parallel universe, he would be 9 years old today. I wonder how our life would’ve been as we faced the direct effects of the neglect from his early life. I wonder about the memories we would’ve made with an older child.

I am not a person who dwells on the what ifs or to have regrets about the paths not taken, because it is a maddening and futile waste of time.

I am so thankful for the path we took in life that led us to our T.

This Saturday morning, T climbed into bed with me – bright and early, as a woodpecker pecked away at a tree in our backyard.

“My fart woke me up,” he said.

I didn’t want to wake up yet, so I shoved my phone in T’s face, hoping it would buy me a few more minutes.

T looked at photos and videos from this nature outing just two months into our life together.

T started scrolling through the hundreds of photos we’ve taken from the last five years.

He kept watching a video over and over of him walking down a set of stairs, while holding onto the railing, as the hubby stood by closely.

He was only 16 months old and still not familiar or comfortable with going up and down stairs.

T rested his head on my chest watching this video and I opened my sleepy eyes to watch it with him, marveling at how time has flown by.

The hubby treated me to steak and frites for my birthday dinner.

19 thoughts on “The Road Not Taken

  1. Happy 40th my friend. Wishing tons of great adventures, and amazing roads ahead full of joy, love, exciting possibilities. Your post took me down memory lane when my son was in elementary. I miss it though now I’m now enjoying a different phase in his life, being a teen ager. He is try to be fit before classroom resumes next fall and we work out now together. We created a gym in our stock room cause I don’t think I can go back with public gyms during this extended pandemic. I’m planning to ask him to hike with me this weekend & can’t truly wait for it. If there was one thing covid did, it’s making many family appreciate time and moments together. A toast to you and the many awesome moments and memories ahead🎊🎉💥

    1. Thank you! I’m very excited about the 40s. 🙂

      The pandemic has been awful but agreed with you about the family time that it has enabled and allowed.

      Glad to hear you and your son are finding activities to bond over and do together. And fitness and exercise is certainly a great way to spend time together!

      1. My Blood pressure has been high from gaining weight & unhealthy lifestyle. It’s a wake up call. So I’ll try my best. Take care and regards to your wonderful family. 🙏

      2. I think the pandemic has made a lot of us less healthy. But it will pass and you will get back to fitness! 😊

  2. Happy 40th birthday!!! I’m glad you had a good day and that steak looks amazing! I think you both made the right choice with T but I am sure it was a tough decision. Everything does happen for a reason! I hope your Mom is doing well.

    1. Thank you, Diane! It was a very low key but fun celebration. And yes, we made the right and best decision. 🙂 I just hope the other boy is happy and well taken care of wherever he is today. And my mom is well. Getting her first of two vaccines this Friday. Can’t ask for more. 🙌 Happy Easter to your family.

  3. Happy 40th Birthday!! It’s sometimes hard not to think about the “ifs” or what could have happened if you chose X instead of Y. But, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Hope you had a wonderful day with your family.

    1. Thank you, L! Everything does indeed happen for a reason. It was a wonderful birthday celebration, thank you. 😊

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