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Expectation v. Reality: Mother’s Day Edition

Expectations matter.  If we explore the roots of all our disappointments and frustrations we come to the conclusion that,

“I just didn’t expect you to say (or not say) something like that.”

“I didn’t expect you to react (or not react) this way.”

“I didn’t expect you to have that opinion.  It surprises me.”

“I didn’t expect to have to do this by myself (or I didn’t expect you to want to do that by yourself).”

“I didn’t expect to have to spend my money (or not spend my money) like this.”

“I didn’t expect that you’d want to spend your time doing this or that.”

The only reason you’ve ever been mad at your brother, your boss, your mother, father, husband, wife, neighbor, or drive-thru lady at Wendy’s  is ultimately this:  ”I expected to be treated differently, not like this.”

If, say, I expected that on Mother’s Day my children would cease to act like 4-year-olds, that they would be well groomed, well-mannered, patient and selfless, and that they would sit still and eat their Asian food all by themselves while their father and I had adult conversation over dinner at P.F. Changs – well, then I would be understandably disappointed.

Luckily, this Mother’s Day was not my first rodeo – I knew better.

However, I did think that we would go to one of my favorite  bistros and that we would order our food without incident.  I thought that Madeline would enjoy her turkey sandwich while Sam ate cheerios in his high chair.  I thought that the kids would be delighted when we took them to Coldstone so that I could get one of those coffee ice cream with almonds and Heath bar concoctions.  I thought that they would go to sleep when we got home (HA HA HA) and that Dan and I could watch the last Harry Potter movie while we snuggled under a fluffy down comforter.

Instead I fed Madeline her turkey sandwich for breakfast this morning because in a moment of exasperation at the restaurant we told her that she was not allowed to eat anything else until she ATE THAT SANDWICH.

It is still sitting on the table right now.

Also, during dinner Dan left the restaurant and ran across the shopping center to buy pacifiers at Publix because my happy, chill baby was not acting happy or chill.

When Dan returned, Madeline was laying upside down on the booth, her head under the table and her feet in the air, showing the wide world her Little Mermaid underwear.  Sam was whimpering and writhing in his chair, surrounded by 17 baby toys all of which he grabbed just long enough to throw to the ground in protest.  Dan stepped over the pile of toys in the middle of the aisle and handed Sam a pacifier.  Sam took it, looked at it, and threw it on the ground.  Then started crying.

We were that family.

At this point, my wonderful, precious husband sat down, reached across the table to take my hand, looked deep into my eyes and said,

“Remember that scene at the end of Twister?”

(My life has the makings of a real romantic comedy.)  ”Yeah…” I said.

“You know when they’re strapped to that pipe, and the tornado is beating them up and there’s stuff flying all around and they’re wet and filthy and tired and trying not to die?  But they look into each other’s eyes and it’s supposed to be this big romantic moment, like they were meant to be together?

That’s married with children.

This is my best marriage advice: don’t marry the person you want to spend a day at the beach with – there are dozens of those.  Marry the person whose eyes you can lovingly gaze into while you’re strapped to a pipe in the middle of an F5 tornado.”

Dan is my tornado person.

(After dinner, we went to Chuck E Cheese instead of Coldstone because Madeline was not allowed to eat ice cream.  I had nightmares about the freaky animatronic characters on stage.  It is 2012, why do these still exist?  We rented Harry Potter, and Dan let me explain the WHOLE back story because it was Mother’s Day and he loves me.  He patiently listened to me talk about “horcruxes,” “the elder wand,” “Dumbledore,” and “the sword of Griffyndor,” and just as I reached out to push play, Sam woke up.  12 times.)

To be honest, it was a wonderful day that I suspect I will remember for a long time.  I am married to my tornado person, and if I have to be battered by an F5 tornado for the next twenty years, I want these beautiful faces to be the ones swirling around in it.

Doesn’t Sam look so enthused about being related to me?  He can hardly contain his joy.  He is practically glowing.  Happy Mother’s Day!!!!  It’s all about your expectations.

  • Reneefritz

    You are brilliant with words Kate! You perfectly described exactly how I feel most days as a stay at home mommy. But so true that there is no where else I’d rather be! This is Renee fritz sister in law of Katie fritz:) we were bridesmaids together in her wedding! Love your honesty it’s so refreshing!

  • Wanda Dulski

    you get it.  

  • http://beccasaid.wordpress.com/ Becca

    So much love for this post! Love isn’t romantic. It’s take-your-breath-away awesome. And I say this as I am trying to stop the dog eating my son’s pasta, which he is carefully and deliberately throwing on the floor.

  • http://www.ginandjuiceboxes.com/ Jessica Sliman

    Just loved this. Every last bit of it.

  • http://likeadayoff.blogspot.com/ Beth

    This is a great post!  I love your realness, and I love the idea of the “tornado person.”  So glad I’ve found your blog!

  • http://slackersaver.com/ Sharla

    Whenever any of our engaged friends ask for marriage advice, my husband and I say, nearly in unison, “Get rid of all your expectations.” 

  • Cdean7

    Once again you have shared years of wisdom in your ever so readable prose.  God has  blessed you with an ability to write  and you in turn have become a blessing to so many.  Thank you for finding the time in your life to share yourself with the world.

  • Pkmjkm2002

    Love, Love, Love this!! We sure miss you down here in Florida!

  • Ronda035

    All part of the adventure, I say! You’re both good sports about it, and that’s what matters most.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  • http://twitter.com/stinertrev Christine Trevino

    Thank you for sharing this…we’ve been feeling a battered and bruised and exhausted as well.  Two little ones, and the stuff of life can make you a little loopy if you don’t get a grip on the proper perspective.  Happy belated Mother’s Day :) .

  • Alexis

    My mother’s day was somewhat like this. I was getting mad about it until I realized that we were celebrating “Mother’s Day” and that’s what being a mother is all about. It’s definitely crazy and as long as you are prepared can be fun. Thanks for your awesome attitude.

  • Amy

    I could say a lot of great things about the bulk of your message, but I personally zoomed in on that Chuck E Cheese comment – because FINALLY I have found somebody else disturbed by those weird puppet things. I had recurring nightmares of those as a child, and still would not like to be anywhere near them :)

  • Mel

    beautifully said. :)

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