Sunday, September 6, 2009

Little Butterfly

We have all done things that we regret. Almost nightly I fall into bed and while the pillow is still cool, I am already wondering about half of the day’s choices. Sometimes the decisions are small and seemingly insignificant. 
"Ah, I should have tipped the barista...why didn't I walk after dinner?..did I really just spend 36 dollars on hair conditioner?" But, sometimes the regrets are bigger. Sometimes they linger for years and left unattended--they don't go away; they seem to come back and attack you when you are least likely to be able to defend yourself.

Facebook has opened up a whole world of connection to a lot of mid-lifers and we are looking at our choices once again. Some of our choices were clearly for the better, but, some are a little cloudier. Names are more recognizable than faces, and our memories have altered the truth of the time. We remember small details with large definition, never realizing that others will remember things differently.

Recently, thanks to the big blue f, I have been able to reconnect with friends from High School. Some of the women, who I once was a cheerleader with in the 80's, met for a day out on the ocean to do some kayaking. As we rowed our little kayaks along the harbor we all had so many questions for one another. We had each heard a little bit about an old classmate--I had the least information, so I had the most to learn.

After an hour of rowing, I finally asked about "that boy". He wasn't a boy I was in love with as a teenager. We weren't an item in any way. I never even dated him. He was more of a mistake that led to years of heartache. He was a boy who asked for a ride home from a party, which led to an unplanned pregnancy. I was 17, a few months away from graduation, and pregnant with a baby from a boy I barely knew. 

I chose the path of abortion. 

My mom took me and I had a second trimester abortion on a Saturday morning. I was able to go back to school on Monday morning and make plans for Prom and Grad night with all my peers. My little heart was broken, but I wouldn't even begin to feel the pain from that break for many years. I really expected to hear that the "boy" was living a life similar to most of the guys from high school; working a job he never intended, attending his kids sports events and maybe on his second marriage. 

What I got was, for some reason, a little more unusual. He had gone on to marry a former sitcom star and they had just recently had a baby. The star and her baby were even in People magazine. I am not sure why this was confusing, but I became acutely aware that I was feeling new thoughts about my little unborn baby.

Their new little baby was the 1/2 brother to my little unborn baby. For some reason, knowing who he married and knowing that I used to watch her on TV every week and knowing that we were in a way--connected--made me feel strange. 


I am not really sure, perhaps because in a spiritual way our kids are connected. According to the real world, it's really not a connection, and I'm not going to become a stalker. It's just a reminder that our world is so small. It's also a memory of a little baby who never had a chance. He was conceived at the wrong time to the wrong parents.

For a long time I have been aware of the fact that my world would be different had he been born. My husband was in Bible College when we met and in 1985 a single mom with a 2-year-old was not the best choice for a church Pastor. 

But, today I am thinking about how the WHOLE world would have been altered by his birth. Anyone who has ever seen Ashton Kutcher's movie "The Butterfly Effect" knows that changes don't always work out for the best. I am not going to fool myself into believing that it would all be perfect if I had chosen to not have an abortion. I know that I can't look back or I will just keep tripping over my feet in the here and now. I also know that while I may wish I had made different choices these are the choices I did make and they are part of what makes me who I am.  

One summer day, about 14 years ago, I was watching my {then} 3-year-old son learn to swim and I had a fleeting thought about the baby that was never born in 1983. I wondered if I would have been as good of a mom to him as I was to my son. And suddenly, a light came on, a light of love and forgiveness told me, "Yes." I am who I am, and I was me along time ago.

I would have loved him and watched him with pride during his swim lessons, read him Dr. Seuss and eventually would have fought with him about cleaning his room and doing his Algebra homework. I would have snuck in his room to read his text messages and kissed him on his forehead while he slept. But that's not the point anymore. My little butterfly didn't get to come into this world to help me become a better person, but he was still here inside of me and he was still able to help me become the best mom I could be. The best person I could be. He was just a flutter, only here for a moment and his effect still lasts. The changes were within a teenage girl who grew up to be a little more humble, way more approachable and always longing for God's attainable Grace.

Linking today for On My Heart Tuesdays with Shanda @ A Pause on the Path