So, yeah... in our heads, we've known for quite some time that we wouldn't be having any more children -- at least naturally. In the last few days, however, in part because of my wife's health, this intellectual understanding has been solidified into hard, permanent fact of the surgical variety.
When I was young, I was always very indecisive (okay... I still am. Sue me). After multiple frustrating conversations in which I wound up trying to figure out why friends or family were so annoyed with me, I figured out a way to solve this. A way to trick myself into making a decision.
|Oh, yeah? Well, mine's invisible, Harvey.
How ya like that?
The problem with decision making is that, often, the head and the heart fail to agree, and as fallible humans, we sometimes don't know to which one we should listen. Or even want to listen. My little trick forces a choice. It actually evolved from using a real coin, and then deciding whether or not I liked the outcome of the toss. Again, it was that task of coming up with a permanent decision and forcing myself to decide whether I could live with it. Sometimes, I went with the toss. Sometimes, not. It wasn't long before I figured out I didn't need the actual coin.
Of course, life doesn't always let you take back your coin toss.
Mentally, my wife and I knew we probably weren't going to conceive any more children. In our hearts... well, it was nice to have the option. It's not that I have regrets, all things considered. We made the right decision -- and more importantly, it was the decision we had to make. But this is the part of decision-making with which I've always struggled: permanence. This was the idea with which I played when I flipped my imaginary coin.
It turns out, the real world is full of permanent decisions. Things we simply can't take back. Words we say. Actions we're too drunk, or angry, or frightened to realize we'll regret later. Whether it's getting into that car when we know, in the back of our minds, that we shouldn't, or walking into that clinic, or walking away from that loved one... sometimes we only realize much later that, perhaps, we should have re-flipped that coin after all.