Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

What if Our Choices Make Us Better?

Do you ever think about who you’d be if you’d been born a different gender? A different race? Born to a different family, or taken a different job years ago? Do you think about who you’d be now, if you’d said yes instead of no, or no, rather than yes?

Would you still be you?

What if Our Choices Make Us Better?

Some of the “what ifs” in our lives are more meaningful than others. Some of the small “what ifs” lead to bigger ones.

We can’t help but think about the “what ifs,” and the choices we’ve made. It can be paralyzing for future “what ifs,” if we let that happen. Mostly, though, I think we’re wired for hope, and for making decisions, even when sometimes, we don’t make a decision at all, and let what’s going to happen, happen. Which is, of course, a decision in itself.

I think about the “what ifs.” I wonder about all of the maybes. Some feel like they have the power to change who I am.

Or who I’ve been.

Some feel like burnt-out lightbulbs that used to have power, but are now a simple recycling problem.

What If?

What if I’d studied more in college, or high school? What if I’d studied less, and gone to more parties?

What if I told somebody how I felt when nothing mattered? What if I told somebody how I felt when everything mattered?

I wonder whether I’d still be me, had I been raised by she who birthed me. I wonder what happened the first week of my life in an adoption home. Did they hold me?

What if I’d married the bad boy I loved at 17, or the one I loved at 21? I think about how much of who I am is because I did marry the one I loved, back then. I wonder whether I’d be the same had we’d waited. Or if we’d stuck. I’m grateful that he gave me a love of Metallica. We’ve always had that, although we haven’t had us for a long time.

The jobs I’ve taken, the people I’ve left. The people I’ve hung onto, when it’s hard or easy. It’s often both.

Does holding an unbearable story for another mama change the person we hold it for? Does it change us? Holding stories of others helps all of us, because stories and memories have power over the future, even when we’re unable to change the past…but what if?

What if you’d made different choices?

Would you still be you?

What if I’d given up on dating when I was already past my prime baby-having years, after the one who gave me Metallica?

What if tomorrow weren’t my 10-year wedding anniversary married to this one?

What if I’d never have found him, in the sea of people living in DC? Him, from Tennessee. Me, from Colorado. Both of us here, together, with so many others.

What if?

what if my life was different based on past what ifs

In my 20’s, I pictured having a little girl or boy Calvin and Hobbes style. I’d chase them and laugh at beheaded snowmen in the driveway. Trick-or-treating in matching costumes that were funny or scary more for their uniqueness than their reality.

The “what if” that I have the hardest time letting go of today is the one that whispers to me. It whispers in the sunshine and in the night.

What if I’d had my son when I was younger? Would I be a better mother to him?

What if he had siblings at home? If I’d given birth at 30, it’d have been possible to have 1,001 babies. Or, two. Or something in between.

But then, I think about the aliens, and life lessons, and how at 30 years old, I still wasn’t yet all the way me.

About how I wasn’t yet married to the man I’ll celebrate 10 years of marriage with, tomorrow.

What if I’d realized I wasn’t fat, back when I thought I was fat?

Some become mamas in their teens, or 20’s. It’s popular to become a mama in your 30’s. And I tried, but became one at the age of 40.

What if?

While it’d be nice if my husband and I had our son when we were younger, we weren’t yet us back then.

We hadn’t even met. To risk changing time and age to be a younger mom might mess up everything else.

Specifically, it might mess up having this particular boy, in this particular time of him wanting a man bun, and him being exactly him.

finding ninee and do NOT USE this picture if you

So instead of looking at yesterday and the “what ifs,” I’m going to try and think about what I want to not regret, tomorrow, and in ten years.

Is one of my “what ifs” being younger, with an eight year old? Hellz yes. But also, having this boy, right now, is everything.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “The ‘what if’ I have the hardest time letting go of is…”

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  • Emily - Awww…Happy Anniversary you two!! That’s awesome and I love your wedding pics! I love thinking about “what if” scenarios…I think about them a lot in terms of where I am (or not am) in my career. I also think about past relationships — what if I ended up with so and so? So weird to think about and in fact, there is a chapter on “what if” in my memoir where I imagine a different scenario with my ex from college. I am going to try to do this prompt, because it’s a good one!September 28, 2017 – 10:49 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Emily! OMG I so hope you’ll do it. Even if it’s an excerpt from your memoir. Because so awesome so awesome. The what ifs are amazing and horrifying and all between. Also? You beat Janine at commenting 😉September 28, 2017 – 10:57 pmReplyCancel

  • jt walters - Happy Anniversary. Odd you will be spending it at Universal and then not.

    I count the things I am grateful for today like your friendship and advocacy for all parents of children with special needs. You are the right Mom at the right time for Tucker and you have the maturity only to fight the battles you have too.

    Count your blessings my friend and live a happier lufe. You did everything perfect.September 29, 2017 – 1:54 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We’re at home. Just got back from dinner and thank you for the anniversary wishes! And you’re so sweet! I’m grateful for your friendship, too. Also? Not perfect, but good enough is sometimes good enough right? 🙂September 29, 2017 – 9:29 pmReplyCancel

      • jt walters - Absolutely!!! And you’ll get Zelda!!September 29, 2017 – 9:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ TheGoldenSpoons - I’m th opposite -wondering what if I had waited a little longer before getting married (at 21) and having my first kid (at 25).I think we could drive ourselves crazy with “what ifs.” There are a million things any of us could change if we could go back in time, but what would that change about our now lives & would it really be worth it? Of course, none of us will ever really know, will we?!?! 🙂 Happy Anniversary!!!!September 29, 2017 – 1:56 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - That makes sense, Lisa, that you wonder the opposite. I guess we all wonder about the what ifs, and yes they can drive us crazy! 🙂 Thank you!September 29, 2017 – 9:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Twindaddy - Everything happened the way it was supposed to happen. Wondering what could have been just distracts you from what has been. And it looks like everything turned out amazing for you.September 29, 2017 – 4:47 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Truth, friend. I do think things are as they should be. Amazing sometimes, crappy sometimes, but the way it’s supposed to be maybe. Probably. xoSeptember 29, 2017 – 9:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I love this line… Some feel like burnt-out lightbulbs that used to have power, but are now a simple recycling problem.

    Happy 10th to you guys Kristi.

    I will try to join in this week, as I am a pro on this particular question, was just discussing something like it earlier with a family member, but deadline and I am panicking.

    Hear you are headed for Florida. Have fun.September 29, 2017 – 8:28 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m so thankful you noticed that line, Kerry! I love that line too, so much 🙂 I so hope you’ll be able to join in. I know your post will be amazing. The deadline isn’t until late Sunday night, so there’s time. I’d love to hear your thoughts! And yes, we’re going to Florida in a week. Thank you!September 29, 2017 – 9:41 pmReplyCancel

  • Echo - Kristi, you and I have such an unspeakable bond. We have so much more in common than anyone could imagine and a lot of your “what if’s” are my “what if’s”, but there are also so many more. I know one day we will talk for hours about all of our “what if’s”! I love and adore you, my friend!September 29, 2017 – 10:18 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We so do, my friend. And honestly, I deleted half of this post because of all the “what ifs” and figured it’d gotten too boring, too much and PLEASE let’s meet in person. We WILL talk for hours. We can even head bang our tired heads (which may be more like nodding these days) to some good old Metallica. I totally love and adore you, too. Always. And *ah hem* the link up is open until late Sunday night. No pressure but I’d LOVE to read some of your own what ifs. xoxo <3September 29, 2017 – 11:30 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - MYYY
    what beautiful people.
    That’s not fair!
    Anyhow, I love your words, your insights, your gratitude.
    So much to love….
    it’s hard to take it all in.
    xxxSeptember 30, 2017 – 12:15 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You’re too kind. Oh, to be young again, right? Or, young-ish? How fleeting. Also, SO MUCH LOVE TO YOU. Always. xxxSeptember 30, 2017 – 11:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - Happy anniversary! Those what-ifs can be paralyzing if you let them be…but I’ve gone through the same thought process as you have. The what ifs would replace the what ares, and the what ares are pretty damn good. Man buns and all.October 1, 2017 – 9:20 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL yes, man buns and all, Dana! It’s probably impossible to not think about the what ifs.. but the what ares are pretty lovely so… yes. Thank you!October 1, 2017 – 7:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Linda Atwell - Oh, Kristi, you touched on so many things I want to comment on but I’m going to limit it to a couple so my comment won’t become an entire POST! The first one, although this isn’t the most important one, but I loved the what if I’d realized I wasn’t fat, back when I thought I was fat line. My friend and I were just talking about that the other day. Oh, if we had just realized!!!

    I often think of life like the old pacman video game–you know, how you can choose to go one way or if you choose to go the other way you could make a difference of how many thingees you eat and if you get eaten. I don’t know if that makes sense, but yes, every decision we make changes our life and its variables in so many ways. If we turn left instead of right one day, we may not meet the person we end up with…and then every turn, every decision plays on the other decision and it goes on and on.

    Thank you for this beautiful post. And more importantly, CONGRATULATIONS to you and Robert and ten years of marital bliss. OK, almost no one has total marital bliss, son congrats on the life you’ve built together. And, best wishes on many, many more.

    I truly believe we are where we are supposed to be at this point in time. We are the mother to the person(s) we are supposed to beOctober 1, 2017 – 10:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Linda, I love the Pacman image – it makes total sense. Every turn takes us somewhere new, for sure and it’s hard to not wonder about the what ifs, but I agree that we’re where we’re supposed to be. The mothers to the people we’re supposed to mother. And thank you for the congratulations! LOL to total marital bliss but yes, we’ve built a good life together and I wouldn’t change much! Thank you! October 3, 2017 – 9:15 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Didn’t make it in for this for a million reasons. So much of this makes me nod and understand right along with you. Our paths have been so similar. I think you must know where I live on this sort of thing – no matter what the road has been thus far, every choice, every event leads to what and who we are today. And most days that’s a great thing. It’s harder to accept and believe when life feels stalled, not quite what we want. But perhaps all of this is necessary, too.
    Great post. Happy anniversary to both of you! May you have many more great “what ifs” in the years ahead. xoOctober 2, 2017 – 9:32 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you, Lisa! Our paths have been similar… and you’re right about it being harder to accept when life feels stalled, or there’s a scary, change-everything decision to make… But, again, as you said, maybe that’s part of it. xoxo October 3, 2017 – 9:25 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - If I’d written, I think my post would have totally echoed yours! I think what ifs as often as my good days when I say “this is the life”. It may not be the life another person would want, and it may not be the life I thought I’d have, but it is indeed EVERYTHING.October 8, 2017 – 2:30 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You’re so right about “it is indeed EVERYTHING,” Kenya. Yup. It really is (although so different from what I’d imagined too). xoOctober 11, 2017 – 5:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison Smith - Or the cruelty of “what if” questions. They will keep you up at night – so you must shut that shazam down:). Everything is as it should be (my mantra lately when the what if’s get inside my head).

    And Happy Anniversary!October 25, 2017 – 10:08 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you! And yeah, the what if questions will totally keep somebody up at night! Gah!October 25, 2017 – 8:57 pmReplyCancel

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