When we were children, decisions might have been tricky to make, but there was no real downside. Did you want chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Should you play with the figures or blocks? Which cartoon would you watch? No matter which decision you made, you would still have ice cream, you would still play and you would still be watching cartoons.
At some point, our decisions became more complex. We began to realize that choosing to do one thing versus the other could have consequences. Some of these consequences could be serious. When you become a parent, it can often seem like these decisions present themselves on a daily (if not hourly) basis.
This past week, NHL was sick. He ran a fever and had to miss his classes as well as after school activities. He began to get nervous as Wednesday approached. His class was scheduled to go on a field trip that day and he had been looking forward to it. The night before the trip he even woke up with nightmares. Though he wasn’t coherent enough to talk to us about it, we were pretty sure that stress over possibly missing the trip was a major contributing factor.
Wednesday morning came and there was that difficult decision. NHL hadn’t been fever free for exactly 24 hours, but he seemed to be fine. He had woken up drenched in sweat so we were hopeful that his fever had broken. The question became: Do we send him to school or don’t we? If we send him to school and he comes down with a fever, he’ll have to head home. Worse, if his fever returned during the field trip, it might complicate matters. The field trip was nearby and happened to be at another school, but, in the field trip chaos, NHL’s returning fever might not be noticed for awhile. On the other hand, if we kept him home and his fever didn’t return, we’d feel bad for making him miss the trip.
In the end, our concern over NHL’s well being trumped his desire to go on the class field trip. We explained to NHL why we were not sending him, but NHL still got upset. He wanted to go on this field trip and didn’t understand why we were being so unfair not letting him go.
It turned out that our decision was vindicated. Later that day, NHL opted to take a nap instead of playing math games on the computer (two of his favorite things combined). When B took his temperature, she saw that it he not only returned, but hit 104. He made a quick trip to the doctor’s office and is well on the way to a full recovery. Still, the “do we send him or don’t we” decision made me long for the days when decisions were simple and had little to no downside.
Have you had to make any difficult decisions recently? Ones where it didn’t seem like any of your choices were ideal?