“I can NOT decide. Mommy, WHAT should I have? Spaghetti-O’s or peanut butter and jelly?”
“Up to you, honey,” seems not to help. He wanders off, then reappears 10 minutes later, clearly tortured by the enormity of this huge decision.
“I. JUST. DON’T. KNOW!” Pout. “Ugh!”
“Why don’t you flip a coin?” his sister suggests. He hesitates, seeming unsure, but sees no other way out of this dark pit of indecision he’s fallen into.
I leave the room momentarily, and when I re-enter, he announces, “The coin doesn’t work Mommy.”
“What? What do you mean the coin doesn’t work?”
“It’s broken, it didn’t work.”
Ahhh…. I see. He had finally found a solution – the COIN would tell him what to do, so his agony of indecision would be over soon. He had excitedly flipped the coin and rushed to see the results. PB&J!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His face brightened. Alright! Finally, he could eat!
But…. wait. A cloud of doubt creeps across his face. What if….? But no, the coin said…. Yeah, but maybe… what he really wanted… was… spaghetti-O’s. ?????
The coin didn’t work after all. The indecision remains.
My husband and I are terrible decision makers. “Where do you want to eat?” “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” “Should we drive to that wedding?” “Maybe. I don’t know. What do you think?”
And since we can’t make little decisions, imagine the weight of the BIG ones. We literally flipped a coin to decide whether or not the timing was right to start trying for our second child. (We pictured him, years later, coming to us, “Mom, why did you name me Heads?”)
I envy people who know exactly what they want. They don’t have to labor over their decision, they just KNOW. Is it good or bad to be decisive? To know instantly what to do without agonizing over all the possible outcomes of each choice.
We are inundated with choices. Most of them small. So why do they sometimes feel so heavy and big? My son gobbles up a whole bowl of spaghetti-O’s. He even asked for seconds. Then, content and happy, skipped outside to play. It was fine. He was happy. And it would have been fine either way. What’s the worst that will happen if we make the wrong choice about whether or not to attend a wedding or where to eat out? Or even the “biggies” like whether this month or next is the best timing for kid #2? IS there a wrong decision? Sometimes I think not. Spaghetti-O’s or peanut butter? Perhaps we will be nourished and filled no matter what we choose.
The only WRONG decision, perhaps, is allowing indecision to paralyze us.
Moments later, breathless and red faced from playing outside on a hot August day in the south, my sweet boy bounds back into the kitchen. “Mommy?” he asks. “I’m still hungry. Can I have a peanut butter sandwich?”