May 6, 2011

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ by Robert Frost

This is MY poem.  Mr. Frost wrote it for me.  OK, maybe not only for me, but it is surely about my life.  This poem comes to mind so often.  My BFF Jen printed it up and framed it and gave it to me as a gift once.  It hangs on my bedroom wall, above my nightstand.  It is profound and true and inspiring to me, even though it's pretty simple.  I first read it in high school for English class and liked it even as a dumb kid, before I had any idea the different roads that lay ahead of me.  But it spoke to me even then, as if I knew my life wouldn't be typical.  Maybe I did know.  What is "typical", anyway?  Perhaps that's a subject for another post!

Anyway....while out with my other BFF Jessica this week we got to talking about the pivotal events in our lives, the ones where if you had made another choice than the one you did, had chosen the other road, how different might your life be today?  I can easily point to 4 - so far.

The first was when I was 12 and gearing up to move from my home with my dad here in Washington state to live with my mom in Lake Tahoe, California.  Per their divorce agreement my dad was to relinquish custody of me to my mother at age 12, whom I would live with for the remainder of my childhood.  In the waning days of my 6th grade school year, however, my father came to me and asked if I wanted to stay with him, that if I did, he would contact a lawyer and see if we could make that happen.  Hence, my very first big decision, the fist "fork in the road" of my life!

My father's concern was that I already had a good and stable life with him and my mom had been struggling to establish a good and stable life for herself for years, let alone for me.  But I knew that she was ready now.  She was renting a little house with a bedroom for me and she was in school.  My strong sense of fairness told me that it was her turn.  She had been waiting patiently, doing everything she was supposed to do, even from a distance, and I had to go.  Telling my dad that I still wanted to move was hard.  I know it disappointed him, and looking back on it now (as a parent myself), I think putting me on the plane to leave him, not live with him anymore, when I was only 12 years old, broke his heart.  But in turn, I knew not going to live with my mother would've broken her heart.  So I moved to Lake Tahoe and I know how things went.  But I often wonder what might have happened to me if I had stayed.

My second "fork" came when I was 16 years old and got pregnant.  Yes, I became a teen pregnancy statistic.  I'm not proud.  It is what it is.  So there I was, 16 and knocked-up.  I had to decide if I was going to have and keep the baby, have and give up the baby or terminate the pregnancy.  I had one friend telling me abortion is wrong and one telling me it was the only logical thing to do.  I had my boyfriend and his mother romanticising the whole thing.  My mother was utterly appalled that I had made the same mistake she had and swore if I carried to term the baby and I would not be living with her.  I didn't tell my father out of fear of his reaction, even though my mother threatened to ship me back to him.  I also didn't tell another good friend of mine who had moved away, because I was afraid she'd be terribly disappointed in me.

I would have loved to have a baby and become a mommy.  I already knew I wanted that for my life - like big time!  But the uber practical side of me won over the romantic side.  I knew it wasn't a good idea.  I also knew that I didn't have it in me to go the adoption route.  I consider myself to be a pretty strong person, but giving my very own baby away to be raised by someone else....?  No.  There's no way.  It would've broken me.  So it was all or nothing.  Not something I often feel; I'm really not an all or nothing kind of gal.  But in this case I was, and I decided to terminate.

Contrary to popular opinion, having an abortion is not taking the easy way out.  Yes, you get out of having a child to take care of, but it scars and haunts you.  It becomes a part of your soul.  You will forever wonder...boy or girl?...what wouild it look like?...what would I have named it?...would we have been OK or would it have completely sucked?  I think I would've had the baby in September and once in a while, in September, I count and think about how old the child would be.  I wonder if the little soul that would've been born to me understood my choice.  I wonder if God understands.  And I can't imagine how differently the roads of my life would have sprawled out before me if I had made a different choice!

The third fork in the road didn't feel like a huge decision at the time, but hindsight being 20/20 (Ha!), I now see that it ended up being the thing that brought about the rest of my life as I know it.  I became legally blind in the year after graduating high school and I needed help with adapting to it.  There is a wonderful thing (mostly) called the Department of Rehabilitation.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), there weren't many services available to me where I lived (still Lake Tahoe), namely mobility training with a white cane, braille and daily living skills.  There was, however, a school called the Orientation Center for the Blind down in the Bay Area.  It is a live-in facility where you spend several months focused on learning how to do everything without the use of your eyes, and my rehab counselor suggested I go there.  I don't even remember the process I went through in making a decision, but I decided to go for it!

OCB afforded me the opportunity to leave home.  It was where I met my future husband and 2 of the best friends I've ever had, who are like family to Mark and I.  We started our life together in a little apartment just blocks away from OCB and ended up staying in the Bay Area for a total of 9 years.  We went to school, Mark got a transplant and regained good sight, we worked, got married and had our first baby all while living there.

The fourth big choice we made (not just I anymore) was to relocate to Washington state.  We knew we wanted out of the rat race of the Bay Area, and actually, out of California entirely, mostly because of the cost of living.  We had no hope that we'd ever be able to buy a house anywhere in the state.  I mean, we're talking about 2 disabled individuals who were probably not ever going to make big bucks.  We also had a little girl who would be going to school soon and we never heard very good things about the public schools.  California is an amazing state, but it's too big for its britches and just...overwhelming, I guess.  Leaving it, though, meant leaving a lot of family we love and this was not an easy decision to make.

We settled on coming (back for me) to Western Washington.  This area has everything we figured we needed, such as good medical care, some family, lower cost of living, very family-friendly and not too terribly far away from California.  It was a little difficult at first because Mark ended up not working for the first 3 years and that was disappointing for him.  Also, the family thing didn't go very well for awhile.  But we soon learned that there are a lot of good people here and we have been fortunate to become friends with several of them.  We had not managed to make any friends in the Bay Area after leaving OCB, so this is huge.  There it was just the 3 of us, and here it is much more.  Not only that, but we had another child, something I absolutely needed to do because I don't believe in only children...and we bought a house!  Also, Mark got to have his heart taken care of at a hospital which is considered one of the very best for cardiac care in the nation.  I am so very grateful for that!

The rest is still unfolding of course.  We can't know beforehand what roads and their forks lie ahead of us.  I seem to choose the ones "less traveled by" and that has indeed "made all the difference".  I can't imagine my life any other way than it is.  Well, that's not true.  Of course I can imagine other circumstances, definitely easier ones!  But I am who I am because of my circumstances and I think who I am is alright.  I often feel held back by these circumstances (sorry I keep using the same word, I do hate being redundant), but at the end of the day I'm proud of this little life I and we have forged.  Only God and the whole of the universe knows what choices still lie ahead of us.

The blogger I've quoted before (and probably will again so get used to it), Edenland, recently put this video in one of her posts and I think it apropos to include it here too (in lieu of the customary quote):


  1. Thank you for the shout-out! And I'm impressed at the depth of wisdom you had at just 12, deciding - fairly, on which parent to go live with.

    You made me remember when I learnt that poem at school, I knew it was something special at the time too. Thank you.


  2. Forks I wish you never had, but made you who you are today. And you are a wonderful chick and great blogger!

  3. Definitely some big forks there -- especially at such tender ages. Bravo to you for the courage to share your heart with your readers. That's another road not oft travelled by most!

  4. Such important decisions, at such young ages. You really are very strong to open up to so many people to share your story. I love your honesty which makes your blog, and hope you don't mind if I share your button on my site. You can find it at

  5. You honesty is great. I feel like I know you quite well compared to say some of my neighbors. Tough decisions. May God be a source of strength for you as you make new ones.

  6. Wow. This was such an amzing post- so honest.

    I often think of what would have happened if I traveled down quite a few different roads of my life- whatever the case may be...I'm happy I traveled this one that took me to the 2 most important people in my life- my children.

    I honestly never reread blog posts (except mt own- damn narcicist!) but I am going to reread this one.

    1. Well I will take that as a serious compliment, thank you!

  7. What an amazing post, to look at the big decisions, the turning points that influenced the rest of your life. I need to sit and think about what are the turning points in mine.

  8. Visiting from SITS. Happy SITS day to you! I enjoyed reading this post and I admire your honesty and bravery.

  9. Your honesty is so refreshing. I think that we all find ourselves playing that little "what if" game from time to time. Here for your SITS day and so glad I am.

  10. Loved the honesty in your post. You have been in some difficult situations, but I love that you are sharing and helping others but expressing what you have lived. Stopping in from SITS! Blessings to you as you continue on your journey!

  11. Visiting from SITS. Welcome back to the PNW. I hope it's the less traveled path for your family. I also love the Frost poem.
    Enjoy writing, it is therapeutic and it is obvious you are a good writer.

    1. I can't find a way to connect with you, so I'm kind of hoping you might come back... Thank you so much for complimenting my writing!

    2. I have a website. Come visit.

  12. Visiting from SITS. Wow, what an amazing story. It's great to have a poem in which you live by.

  13. You have an amazing story! How incredible that you have a poem that perfectly describes your life. I have chills!

  14. Beautiful poem. Visiting from Sits. =)

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  16. What an amazing post! Your honesty and courage in your life path are an inspiration! :) Happy SITS day!

  17. What an amazing story and thank you for sharing this with us. You've made some pretty courageous decisions in your life. And yes, Mr. frost seems to have written that poem just for you. Happy SITS Day!

  18. I have had many moments and many days where I was standing in the middle of my intersections in life...wondering which way to go. But, once I choose a direction I don't ever look back and wonder what might have been. I can't, because all I have now and have learned is comprised of every victory and every defeat. It is impractical to believe that we're never gonna have these moments in life if we just "play our cards right" or make the right decision initially...because it isn't just about is a whole world of people around us, moving; making their own choices. My choice to flog (food blog) led me to SITS...which led me to you. =) Thank you for sharing your personal journey with all of us...and keep on keepin on Jen.

  19. I have always loved that poem, too, and it has felt very personal for me. So I understand exactly what you are saying. Except for not liking California. ;) We live in the Bay Area and love it, although it is exactly as you say in regards to housing prices and public schools.

    Your honesty is really beautiful. Not everyone is capable of completely putting themselves out there like this, and I really admire that.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  20. Beautiful post. I think it's awesome that you take such ownership of all your decisions. Taking the road less traveled is not for the faint of heart. Great blog and happy SITs Day!

  21. Love your post. It is funny to think how life unfolds and as we live it and it's hard to imagine it any other way. But it's also fun to stop and think about all the crossroads in life. Sometimes they are best viewed in retrospect. I really enjoyed this post. Stopping by from SITS.

  22. I really enjoyed reading this post and getting to know you and what has led you to the choices you have made. You are a lovely writer and this is a really touching post. Happy SITS day!!!

  23. You are a gutsy girl who has made some tough choices and by doing so, you have created "your life" versus someone else's. Beautiful post!

  24. Hello from St. Louie! Happy SITS Day to you! Holy cow! You have really had to make some tough decisions...and at such a young age. I hope that going forward, the road is a little less bumpy.

  25. Your post is one of the best I've read and you are an excellent writer. You describe things so clearly and with so much feeling. I'll bet one of the future forks you'll be taking is to write a great novel.
    Hannah P.S.
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