I am not talking about being purposefully ambiguous so you leave yourself a small little back door to bail out of last minute.
I am talking about “if” and “maybe” because there is definite certainties and absolutes. Things like- life begins and ends and begins and ends and flows on….things like-there is always love and kindness and greatness… things like- fire burning and water flowing . The rise and fall. Coming and going. Those big, philosophical stuff that I cannot wrap my tiny brain around and impossible for me to articulate in words.
“Maybe”‘s drove me nuts. I wanted (and still want) YES and ABSOLUTELY and DEFINITELY and CERTAINLY and RIGHT NOW. When you say a sentence to me with a “maybe” in it, it is like slipping a rope around my neck and tightening it. My toes immediately curl and my jaws tighten and I just want to jump right out of my skin. Anything to demand that the “maybe” be erased. Gimme a definite answer, for goodness sake.
Well, I grew up. Changed.
A few years ago I read a book called “The Other Side of Eden” wherein the author talked about how the Inuits, whom he lived with, would do this “maybe” thing, as surely as the sun will rise each morning. He makes an appointment with an Inuit to go hunting the following morning, confirming the time and place to meet. The Inuit will reply something to the effect of, “Yes, maybe I will be there.” The reason is because the Inuits know that life can end at any moment. Anything can happen between point A and B. One should not be so irresponsible and presumptuous to guarantee that one will definitely be there the next day at the agreed time. Who knows what will happen the very next second?
After I read that book, I started to use “plan on” or “plan to be there” much more often. — “We plan on being at the park tomorrow.”; “Me and my girls are planning to be there!”. I plan, I act, but leave the possibility open that, well, perhaps we may not be there afterall.
But of course this attitude did not extend to all areas in my life. Ferdinand was never a “perhaps” or a “maybe”. He was an absolute. The number three child we eagerly and gleefully awaited and anticipated… …who decided to come a different way and who chose to touch us in a radically different manner.
So, now, in this household, we know what are the definites. And when it comes to babies, we use “if” and “maybe” all the time. Including the girls.
If we have a baby next time, and if it is a girl, we can get her this dress!
If we have a live baby… …
If this next baby dies, then… …
If mama has a baby and the baby does not die, then we… …
Mama are we going to have another baby? … … Maybe. We shall see… …
Maybe we will have a baby and Sophia will be x years old when the baby is born.
It is a language I need to get used to. Because, honestly, it hurts to hear the girls use such terms when it comes to “the next baby”. They are also no longer sure. No, I should say, they are certain about certain things these days- babies die. (“Of course babies die! Some babies can die before they are born. Right, mummy?!”)
Stab. Stab. Stab. Slap. Slap. Slap.
Very harsh lessons, these. But ones that needs to be learned, and accepted. Again, the head can understand, but the heart refuses to accept it. That is my problem. At least some of the time.
Strangely, it gives me peace sometimes, because I no longer dwell in the definite. Maybe we will have another baby. Perhaps it will decide to live and stay in this realm with us. Surely there is a reason. Definitely it is for the best. Perhaps it will happen faster than we think. And so on, and so forth.
I sometimes see it this way: when there is no absolute YES and no definite NO, then the possibilities are more. And, possibilities and options are good things. Most of the time. It can be liberating if I let go and stay open. I can see that “maybe”‘s drove me nuts because I limited myself to only two ways- yes way, and no way. Ferdinand knocked down walls and tore open horizons for me. This grieving journey made me realize this big thing: that, though there are absolutes, and some things are for sure; if one learns to live with if’s and open one’s heart to the maybe’s, then there is no boundaries. Everything and anything is possible. It is not an easy thing to do, dancing between possibilities and holding one’s breath so often, but I guess this is now my way.