The Road not Taken...

We are all confronted with choices in our lives and these choices determine who we become. Some of these choices are ones that we make, while others are made for us. The last eleven years of my life is about the road not taken...

I remember twelve years ago finding out that I was pregnant. A baby that we were not expecting to have. I was excited, since this was a child I had longed to bear. That year was filled with many unexpected things, my sister being pregnant at the same time. I often joked that I was unable to conceive without my teen aged sibling being pregnant at the same time, yet both times I had been pregnant this had been true.

I didn't think much of this pregnancy, didn't really take the time to savor it, as I wish now that I had. Much of the family energy was put into her needs, but it was okay, energy goes where it needs to go. I was healthy, happy, and growing a human.

I remember I was coaching soccer during my pregnancy. I carried really well, so most people didn't even know I was pregnant until I was well into my third trimester. When I was six months pregnant, I was playing soccer with the kids on my team when I slipped on the grass. There were gasps...I decided that I should probably stop then. It was causing others too much stress.

How would I know, just months later, that I would have to choose a road, one I didn't even know existed, a road not taken. Upon the birth of my youngest, our life was altered forever in ways I probably still can't imagine. Each day is a journey along this road. We see what is here and don't worry about what might have been.

A few years ago, I found out that our daughter was waiting outside the delivery room on that day, and she heard the nurses saying that they didn't think her brother was going to make it. How they didn't notice an eleven year old girl sitting there is beyond me, but she held that information all these years in her heart. Now I know why she was so worried that her brother might die, never talking to me about it, burying it in her heart, just wondering...that knowledge is too much for any child to bear.

The road not taken is filled with pot holes and inconsistent gravel, dips and mountains. It is a road that has terrain that is unmatched by any other road. At times you walk along and it seems like they have done work, the road is smooth and paved, then moments later, a giant pot hole is before you and you must make a quick decision to avoid it. You never know what you might see...scorching heat or freezing cold. An oasis or a blizzard. You must be prepared for anything and everything. You fill your car with all the supplies you think you may need and cautiously move forward.

Along this road, you find other weary travelers, with cars filled with goods they feel will help them, asking questions as they go. Some hold their angels high, tears flowing down their cheeks, knowing that their trip along this road has ended, but having no idea how to get to the main road, nor how to travel along it. This road, the road not taken, is the only way they have known for so long, they fear any other way. Others have broken down and seek help, hoping that you know more, have supplies or experience that you can offer, answers to the questions that are in front of them. Knowing that each journey is not the same, yet the journey's are eerily similar.

The road not taken is a frightening one much of the time, filled with uneasiness, twists and turns. One never knows what may be ahead and the constant fear of the uncertainty can be unnerving. The road not taken is also a road filled with community and love. This community of families along this road support each other, love each other, help each other. Small victories are celebrated, and losses are mourned. The road is lined with small white crosses where each angel lost is honored and remembered by those who pass.

Eleven years ago I had no idea that I would be traveling down this often frightening and frustrating road. Those who travel along the road often taken can see us and wave. When the paths meet, they offer consolation and understanding about how difficult is must be and tell us they understand what it's like along this road not taken, but only those traveling along this unexpected road truly understand both the joys and pitfalls of

the road not taken...

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