As many of you know this year my family is doing an Advent Calendar that provided a family activity to do each day in hopes of becoming more connected. I had such great expectations for this new tradition. Yes expectations. I am learning something about myself through this Advent tradition. I have expectations for not only myself, but for my family as well. Often these expectations are unrealistic, and, as I am learning, cause me great disappointment.
As I was laying out the activities for each day of December, I was very mindful of the days the kids would be home and the days my husband and I would be alone. I was also very mindful of the nights I would be working late and planned activities which required less effort on those nights to make it easier for my husband. What I didn’t plan for is the unexpected change in plans, the kids wanting to hang out with friends, and oh yeah homework and finals! I also am realizing it is taking a great deal of effort to make all of the activities happen – and after a long day at work the last thing I want to do is make Christmas cards!
I thought I was well prepared for last night’s adventure of making Christmas cards. I had picked up all of the materials required, I had put dinner in the crockpot and I would be home at 6:15 to start the activity. That was my expectation. I received a call from my oldest son about midday to ask if he could go to the hockey game – ok he’s out of the activity. An hour later I received a text from my younger son that he wanted to go to a friend’s house and could I pick him up on the way home. Sure, I will pick him up at 6:30 and we can just start by 6:45. After arriving home with the younger son at 6:45, I learned that my daughter was at her friend’s house eating dinner and would be home by 7:30.
URGH! I immediately went into disappointment mode. I had expected that everyone would want the same thing I wanted – to spend time making Christmas cards together.
The reality set in that those were my hopes and not theirs. I realized I need to re-evaluate my expectations and stop forcing them on those around me. I need to be more flexible and allow myself to enjoy what is and not try to make it into something that is not.
This is my new journey. I am excited to see what happens; and I hope to learn to enjoy more, to feel disappointed less, and grow as a wife and mother.
– by Kendra Silver, M.S., L.P.C.