Did You Know What You Wanted?

By February 4, 2013 11 Comments
This is me being indecisive….waaaah!

My therapy sessions are pretty cheap.

I howl and husband listens.  I am Speaker.  He is Listener.

Once, when I was howling he said, “Do you want me to chime in here or just listen?”

“Just listen!”

He then says, “I hear you.  I see you.”  If you’ve ever seen Parenthood, you can thank Zeke for teaching my husband that line.  It’s used often.  Thanks, Zeke.  

My howling is due to a personal trait I find intensely annoying.  I’m the second-guesser, the decision-making agonizer, the hemming-and-hawing wringing-your-hands kind of gal.  I attribute this fact to my personality, which is sometimes bossypants, but most times easy-going.  Overall, this easy-going personality has served me well.  I was never prone to many tantrums. I liked hand-me-downs. I wore jeans to soccer practice.  I’ve never been diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder.  

Even-keel can be a blessed state to live in.

Growing up, my twin had the stubborn streak; I was the peacemaker.  I was an obedient child and cried if you looked at me cross-eyed.  I only snuck out of the house a handful of times and that was because I wanted cousin Clin to be happy toilet-papering.  (Alright, perhaps I wasn’t so innocent.)

I still like everyone to be happy.  I really don’t care which restaurant husband chooses, as long as he smiles through dinner. 

But sometimes, it’s time for gumption, no?  Sometimes I think my even state is laziness.  Perhaps I just don’t like to make decisions.  

I want to be more like the rock and less like the kite, less like the pebble you watch skittering down the street.

Because when it comes to making decisions, I can be terribly indecisive.

Should I sign up for that class or not?
Should I learn photography?
Am I a good mother?
Am I supposed to be scrap booking instead of writing?
Should I guest post or not?
Should I write that article or work on the novel?
Cookies or brownies?
Is my blog header perfect?
Should I potty train now or is later better?  (okay, hallelujah, we are hopefully past that stage…)

Perhaps this is very common.  Perhaps this is “weighing the options.”  But I’m tired of agonizing.  Rock, I say! Be the rock.

I also have to talk out loud, going around in circles like a corralled horse. I stew and fret until I finally just GO.  But it takes me soooo long to get there.

Do you think this is more of a female trait?

For days I’ve been mulling my “life plan.”  Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?  Am I destined for something that I haven’t found yet?

My Paige is leaving me for this lame thing called, school.  The end of days is coming, I can feel it.  I’ve tried rolling over and playing dead, but whatever. It’s not really working. We are now on Plan B.

I am on the verge of something.  I can feel it.  But I’m not sure which path to take.  I’m standing in front of many paths.  Maybe I’m just on the verge of craziness, which is entirely plausible.  I’m thinking Frost, two roads diverged in a yellow wood...except there’s about four paths.  Could Frost have written a poem with four paths?   

So I said to Dear Husband, aka Mr. Darcy, aka The Professor who uses big words,

“I wish I was one of those people who just knew what they were supposed to do!”

He looked at me as I became more and more animated.  I continued.  Speaker.  Listener.

“You know, like those kids who know their junior year of high school exactly what they want to be in life and then they just go do it!”

The professor opened mouth.  And his arms folded (He’s a brilliant non-verbal communicator.)  He cocked his head to the side with his stern, furrowed brow.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” he began.

“No, really,” I said, charging forward.  “I was never one of those people!  I always wanted to DO so many things and was always changing my mind about what I wanted to be!”  

And I think about all those agonizing days and weeks and deciding and the classes and prerequisites and I’m still that same person…over-thinking and discussing and second-guessing and balancing.

He opened mouth again and I kept talking.  Listener, just listen.

“Like in college I never knew what I wanted to be and was always changing my major and then I just had to pick…”

Listener interrupted.  Bad Listener.

“Ame,” he said.  Arms still folded, brow furrowed deeper.  “What did you want to be?”

“I wanted so many different things.”

“What did you want?”  Arms still folded tightly, stern-voiced questions.

“I was going to be an actress!” I said, throwing up my hands.  “I mean, seriously.”

“That’s not what I’m asking.”

“And after that it was English and after that I…”

“No.  You’re not listening (wasn’t he supposed to be the listener?)  What did you want to be?”

“What did I want?” I repeated.  

And then it suddenly occurred to me that he wasn’t asking about my major or my indecisions or how I wanted to be an actress or an english major or a doctor or a coach or a runner or any of those things we DO.

He was talking about our family.  

I always knew what I wanted to be.

Of all the things I was going to do, there was one thing that was clear as day:  Come hell or high water – I was going to be a mother.


Lisa talks about “catchlights” when taking a picture; the reflection of light in the eyes which is really just a reflection of your light source.  The catchlight must have been in my eyes because The Professor started nodding.

This is me again.  Catchlight moment….Ohhhhhh.

He was right.  I always knew what I wanted to be.

Therapy was successful this time.  Subject was smiling and nodding, too.

I held up my hand.  “High Five!”  And he rolled his eyes because The Professor hates to high five.  It reminds him of our first date when I awkwardly held up my hand at the doorstep for a high five.  I mean, what was he expecting???

Wait, The Professor was dating his student?

Anyway, I guess he decided he’s been a pretty good Listener after all because Speaker was smiling and offering a high five.  He humored Speaker and gave his hand up.  

“Thanks!” I said. “You’re so good at this.” (insert valley girl inflection)  And I clapped my hands, reminding him that I really have not grown up in the slightest. 


I’m still on a catchlight high.

I knew what I wanted to be.

Heaven knows I am not a perfect mother, but most days I am trying awfully hard.  Remember that one time I swept the floor?  I’m trying not to be Speaker all the time, to be the Listener.  I hug and kiss.  I say “I love you” everyday.  I’m fond of chore charts.  I’m not even trying to be perfect, just good. Enough.  Strong enough.  

I know you’re trying, too.  Maybe there are days we are less deliberate than other days, but a part of us has to recognize that without us “keeping the family,” we lose that thing we knew we always wanted.

The realization that I’m livin’ a piece of the dream?   

Man, that makes me so happy.

Sometimes I feel apologetic for being happy, like I shouldn’t ever talk about it, as if being happy will make someone else feel badly.  So I keep it carefully hidden, shhhh!  we’re happy, but don’t tell anyone!  Because I know very well, that there are unhappy families.  There are terribly unhappy mothers, who through no fault of their own, wanted to be exactly what I wanted to be.  And I love those mamas.  

But today I’m going to be happy about what I am and what I have.

I’m on the catchlight high, remember?  The light source is present. The evidence of what I wanted to be is sitting in my lap.  Sometimes licking my neck and biting my ears. Not everyone gets that lucky.

What I do is so secondary, so inconsequential to what I am.  It’s completely second-rate to what God so generously placed in my lap.  And I can almost hear him saying…they are yours to keep for just a little while…take good care of them…remember what you are here to be…



  • annewoodman says:

    Oh, Amy. I feel your pain. When my baby girl went to kindergarten (and yes, even the winter before she went to kindergarten), it was really difficult. That was my baby! My best shopping buddy! My Let’s-watch-Little-Mermaid-at-lunch friend!

    And then I had to get serious about where my life was headed. I agonize a lot inside, not so much on the outside. I’m pretty even-keeled. I believe that most times, the best thing to do is to make a decision… any decision… because you will feel better. And later, you can change your mind if you want to.

    But I made my decision (going back to work), and it still hasn’t happened yet! (Gnashing of teeth, yelling at the moon, crazy irritated grimace ; ) I definitely think there should be four roads diverging in a yellow wood. Or twelve.

    Good luck, girl! True, dat.

  • Amy says:

    What a great therapy session you had there! 🙂 I’m always indecisive like you too. Glad you have such a good listener at home. 😉 Yes, cherish what we have is the key. Take care and I look forward to your next post.

  • My husband is my therapist, too. He learned to listen from a book that was popular when we first got married: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. He learned that women want a listener more than a problem solver.

    However, after he listens, he usually has the perfect question to ask me. Just like yours did.

    • Hippie says:

      Anonyymi: Ooo…kuulostaa ihanalta. En ole koskaan maistanut.Neiti Nimetön: Kivaa että löysit tänne! Kiitos kehuista ja liÃntitämisestk¤. Tervetuloa Cocktailiin :)Äf: Jes!Mä niin haluaisin oppia enemmän karjalaisia sanoja ja sanontoja. Kiitos noista, voin tehdä vaikutuksen mummooni ensi kerrall akun tavataan!

  • Oh my goodness! It ‘s like a little snapshot of my life! I am glad I am not the only one! Here’s to great hubbys (ies?) who listen and know us better than we know ourselves!

  • Oh my goodness! It ‘s like a little snapshot of my life! I am glad I am not the only one! Here’s to great hubbys (ies?) who listen and know us better than we know ourselves!

  • Oh my goodness! It ‘s like a little snapshot of my life! I am glad I am not the only one! Here’s to great hubbys (ies?) who listen and know us better than we know ourselves!

  • Oh my goodness! It ‘s like a little snapshot of my life! I am glad I am not the only one! Here’s to great hubbys (ies?) who listen and know us better than we know ourselves!

  • Julia Tomiak says:

    I’m with you, sister. I have the same conversations with my husband, who also is such a good listener, even though he often crosses his arms. We had this conversation just last week. “You’re okay that I’m not working, like, at a job, right?” I asked, knowing the answer. He said, “I couldn’t do what I do if you didn’t do what you do. You’re very important around here.”
    Ahh. I could go to sleep then.
    Good luck, Amy. You’re not alone!

  • Jess says:

    Love this post. I feel exactly the same way in terms of “what did I want to be all those years ago?” You know what? I had some career ideas and thoughts about where I wanted to live, and many of those have been tossed aside by both circumstance and my own indecision. But really, the deepest desire of my heart was to have a family. To be a mother. And I’m trying my best to do a good job of that. I’m a lucky gal 🙂

  • Lindsey says:

    Love this, Amy. Thanks so much for sharing…I can definitely relate!

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