Which one? I ask Bee.
We’re playing near her tiny kitchen, talking of vitamins, choosing the morning’s dose. We’ve been working on reading the labels (T-U-M-M-Y… Doesn’t that spell really really tasty, Mom?), but mostly she just wants to choose a favorite color.
My body is asking for the pink today, she says. But actually, the other side of my body wants the purple, so I probably just need the pink and the purple, you know what I mean, Mom?
I know what she means. Choice is hard for me. It’s hard to choose just one thing from this big, wild world, and I find myself unable to answer questions, mostly.
What do I want to make for dinner?
What do I want to make?
What do I want?
Bee knows what she wants. I love that about her. I love that about all toddlers, really. Ask a toddler what she wants and she’ll give you a straight answer, no second-guessing, no doubts.
I’ll take both, she’ll say.
But I stopped “taking both” a long time ago. I stopped making the choice, stopped asking for what I want, stopped voicing what I thought I needed.
Mostly, it doesn’t bother me. I’ve grown into an easy form of acceptance, a true place of “I don’t know; what do you want?” but sometimes, I forget that I get to choose. That I must choose.
That in not choosing, I’m choosing.
There was a time when the fear of choosing the wrong thing was paralyzing. I didn’t want to miss anything – Which relationships to foster? Which career to pursue? – so I chose it all. I spent my days walking every path, chasing every sign, exhausting every option.
Do I feel pink?
I burned out, of course.
Our options are infinite, but our bodies? They’re not.
Ken and I used to bike to a fro yo shop, the self-serve kind where you pile on endless toppings in a limitless variety, where you create mountaintops of sugar and are charged per ounce for the bowl you choose.
I’d just stand there, paralyzed. Red velvet cake? Peanut butter? Extra whipped cream or hot fudge? Both?
My bowls were terrible, every time.
You’ve gotta choose, Ken would say.
In not choosing, I’d choose.
Purple or pink? I ask her.
She ends up with the pink, after a long deliberation, and pops it into her mouth with joy.
I am the best chooser I know, she says.
I’m still working on being the best chooser I know. I’m still working on making decisions for me, on deciding what I want, on choosing to choose.
It’s slow-going, but the best things usually are.
Which one are you gonna pick? Bee asks after she’s finished her pink, after she’s placed her bottles back on the shelf and is off to a new adventure.
I’m not sure yet, I say. They’re all good, right? I think I’m gonna eeny-meeny-miny-moe it.
(It’s a start.)
This is an essay written for Olly, the friendly crew who makes vitamins the most delicious, foolproof, enjoyably good habit you’ll ever start (and never stop)! Thanks for reading.