I believe God gives you things in your life to wear down your rough edges. If you like things neat and tidy, you marry someone who doesn't care. If you like to sleep in, you get a good job that makes you wake up at 4 in the morning. Sure, not everything works that way, but in one area of my life (many, but one that occurs to me today) this is complete truth.
I like things settled. On the Meyers-Briggs personality test, I'm an ENFJ. I used to think that Extrovert-Introvert was the most important difference between people, but it isn't. I have friends who are both and it's never an issue. And the Feeling-Thinking axis isn't that important as long as you know where you are coming from. I make emotional decisions, but I can train myself to make logical ones. I'm comfortable doing that. I can speak both languages. The Intuition (N) vs Perception axis is a little more tricky--it has to do with how one approaches the world and takes in knowledge, but most of my friends (and husband) are N's as well so, again, it hasn't really been an issue.
But J-P, which is Judging vs Perceiving? That one is a doozy for me. On the scale of -10 to 10, I'm all the way at 10 for J. Completely J. What does that mean? It means I like things settled. I like knowing what's coming. I like having a tidy little list. A schedule. I don't like things to be up in the air. I don't like surprises and I don't like impulsive things. Or people, really.
That's the good side, really. I think most people could see that having a plan, a schedule, a calendar, a list are all reasonable ideas. Organized. But on the other hand? The underside? I would have to admit that I would rather have bad news that is definite than good news that is a maybe. I'd rather know, whatever it is, than wait and see. I like teachers to level with me. Don't tell me that Sophia might have some dyslexic tendencies. Make a decision and tell me what I need to do. Don't let it ride. Just make up your mind or I will for you.
And this Maeve thing, this seizure thing. I want to know, and I want to know right now. I want the nurse to call me and tell me. Tell me something. Either that it is ok to wait until May barring more seizures, or that I need to have her come in and have all the tests redone and everything analyzed. Tell me now.
And Maeve's brain? This two year waiting period and thinking we're ok? That's bull. There's a streak a mile wide inside my soul that just wants to know. Is it epilepsy or is it a fluke? Can we fast-forward please 10 years into the future and just tell me how it turns out? I do this with movies, TV shows, and books--it doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the story if i know the ending. In fact, I can enjoy it more knowing how it will turn out.
But that's not how life works. Even if she's cleared for take off by the nurse (WHENEVER SHE CALLS TODAY), we will spend the rest of Maeve's childhood waiting and seeing. And in fact, everyone's childhood is spent waiting and seeing. No one is in the clear. No one makes it out of this life alive. Experience happens. We have no way of knowing what's around the corner. Stay awake and have your wicks trimmed because you are going to need your lamp before the night is over.
My brain needs to know. But God isn't letting me know. I can do all the research in the world but none if it matters if the EEG is bad. Or none of it matters if the EEG is good. I cannot prepare more than I have prepared. And I send Maeve to school in the morning with the assumption that all will be well.
I knew, before I was a parent, that it wouldn't be easy. I knew that things would happen, that kids would get hurt or would hurt me or would make stupid decisions and date the wrong boys and flunk chemistry because they got lazy and learn to drive and have trouble with friends and get sick and probably go to the ER late in the night and all that. I KNEW all that because I wasn't born 32 years old. I have a memory and I know what life is.
But I didn't know, and really still don't comprehend completely, how much risk was involved. How uncomfortable I would be with risk and with not knowing. And how very much that was going to happen every single day of being a parent. It is probably not just parenting, it is probably inherent in adulthood, actually, but this is how I've experienced the discomfort of not having it all done already.
I had no clue how much not knowing I was going to wind up doing. There is so much I don't know, good and bad, and I can't know it. I cannot flip to the last page of Maeve's Childhood and see how it turns out. I can only know what has happened already. And it make me weak in the knees.
And tomorrow I won't know.
And the next day. And the next. And next summer. And six years from now. I will continue to not know.
It is killing me.
But it's a little easier each time I have something else I can't know. I look back at the season of not knowing in winter-spring '09 and I remember how I felt for two months. I remember not being able to catch my breath, of feeling like I couldn't breathe. For two months. This time, there is much I already know. So the new unknowables are small in number if not in size.
In this life, we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, while in the next we will see it face-to-face. Perhaps I will be able to look back and see myself sitting here, not knowing, and have the last page of the mystery in my hand. I wonder if I'll think to send some good thoughts my way. Because while I sit here tightrope walking without a net, I could use some reassurance.
Hell, I could use some knowledge, I mean, if I'm asking for things. But I'll have to settle for reassurance. Go clean the kitchen and wait for the phone to ring and wait and wait and wait and finally look up and realize I've stopped needing to consciously wait. That I can just be.
But that will take a lot more not knowing.