Coffee with Mimi: What will be, will be

What if? Two little words which I have used so many times over my life. What if?

Some might think I am admitting I have many regrets. Not so. Often I laugh, joking with my husband about where I am and what I am doing there. Where would he be? What would life look like? What if I hadn’t transferred schools? What if I hadn’t skipped that event? What if I hadn’t said “no” to that particular job offer? What if…?

Actually, I use that phrase most often when I am dreaming of the next possibility or varied option.  What if we extend the porch four feet more to the side? What if we get a smaller dog this time? What if we pick up our granddaughter for a few days? What if we switch the couch and the two chairs in the living room? What if we save up our money and go on a long vacation far, far away next year? What if we just do nothing today?

Or, what if I just sit on the patio and think about it?

In the long months of the last year and a quarter, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to be constantly on the move. Which I wasn’t.

There were many days during which I was hyper preparing for circumstances over which I had no control. “What if” became a guessing game of if this, then this and not that, so something else instead. “What if” was not a ploy on my part to be creative, to experience the most out of the project or day. “What if” was the plan for getting by and through all the endless unknown options which were possible outcomes over which I had no control, and probably would change before any plan was executed. “What if” was always playing defense and trying to stay two steps ahead.

“What if” was a truly frightening and nearly paralyzing proposition.

The prospect of a whimsical project or outing was deemed unwise or impossible before the words were even formed. Planning any activity was distressing while considering the many barriers placed in the path. Some obstacles were easily accounted for and dispatched. I am a flexible and willingly adaptable person. If this grocery store is closed, there are others. If the library is closed, I have an abundant supply of reading material. If the family can’t visit, there is an internet solution.

There were problems to be solved made more difficult, even a bit scary, because of the pandemic. It wasn’t easy to get a medical appointment scheduled unless it was an emergency. With a sigh of relief and gratitude, it may have taken a while to get on a doctor’s schedule, but we did and we are done. If we waited longer than usual, we came to realize someone else was being attended to and was likely more in need than we were. If our unknowns were stressful, someone else’s “what if” was more so.

I was reminded of an episode when our oldest child was just an infant. During a regular well baby check-up, our pediatrician found a nearly invisible lump behind his ear. Before we, as brand-new parents could think, our baby was being scheduled for a biopsy.

The surgery waiting room was filled with parents. We were at a facility dedicated solely to the care of children. Doctors were all specialists in their fields — in the care of children. This was not a place where simple bumps and bruises were managed.  I wondered if we looked as stricken as all the other parents.

Our child was carried off to his procedure holding a stuffed bunny. I remember thinking “what if…”

It wasn’t long before we were ushered into a tiny consultation room to be given the good news. Our baby was fine. The nurse carried him back to us no worse the wear, with a little band aid behind his ear. The bunny sported a matching band aid.

We were very tired, but what if we stop by his grandparents for lunch on the way home, they would like to see him. He napped on the way without a care in the world.

I have often thought about that day. I know, statistically, at least some of those other families didn’t leave the hospital that afternoon for a nap and lunch with Grandma and Grandpa. Our “what if” fears were a fading memory by the time we got out of the car.

In 1956 Doris Day starred in an Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. The film may be remembered as the introduction of what became her signature song, “Que Sera, Sera.”  Translation; Whatever will be, will be. In the film, Doris Day’s son was kidnapped and the song became part of her search for him.

I’m not quite sure the connection between the lyrics and that movie theme, but my youngest child reminded me recently that the negative “what if” game is a waste of time; what will be, will be and that is something we will handle at the time.