Musings on Expectations

I once was (and, in all honesty, still am to some degree) a creature of expectation. Perhaps it was part of being a dreamer – I spent so much of my time with my head in the clouds or in a wistful  future, I wove intricate little plans for myself of what may be, would be, and could be. I hoped and dreamed up a world of wonders for myself and my family, a world away from the hurt I had grown accustomed to, and I wove into that world a certain degree of expectations about who I am.

My name means “lamb” and my mom often called me her little lamb. She thought I was innocent, sweet, and pure – and I think I tried to be all those things for her. And for me, because more than anything I wanted to be good. I wanted to be nice, to treat people kindly, and to be the best person I could be.  Hell, I still want these things!

But then there’s the other side of expectation – you build yourself into what you expect (or believe others expect) and if you fall short of what you envisioned you would be, well, your world comes crashing down around you. The same goes of expectations of others – if they fall short, or even do something other than what you had expected or dreamed they might do, in your fairy tale version of the world, you feel crushed. You taste and feel disappointment. And what maybe should have been sweet, is bitter simply because it was not what you had expected.
I spent a lot of my childhood waiting – waiting for the promised camping trip, fishing trip, swimming pool visit that never happened. It broke my Mom’s heart to see her kids waiting on the porch for a father who never showed. He forgot, things came up and he simply forgot to tell us he couldn’t come, or he thought it was the next weekend – he would make it up to us with an even better trip – a trip that usually didn’t happen.
The excitement turns to disappointment, which turns to a feeling of sadness, to self-doubt. If Dad doesn’t want to see me, what does that say about me?  I saw other dads pick their children up from school, and I felt envious, because I didn’t really know what it was like. You know, to have a dad pick me up and lift me into the air with that look of joy and pride I saw in those other dad’s faces. You know, the look I see in my husband’s eyes when he spins my daughter around in a circle and they fall into a heap giggling.

So my hopes became tinged with an expectation for disappointment and sadness. An expectation that I would always be Rachael the Unloved. That when someone forgot something trivial, perhaps it meant I was still the Unloved. The Unimportant. 

Now, I’m old enough to know it doesn’t mean anything. Children are precious and a gift, and that Dad didn’t make time for us, well, that was and is his own baggage. There were other things going on – of course – a child can’t even begin to understand the worlds and relationships of adults. But I don’t need to make excuses for him, or judge him, or even waste a moment caring. It was what it was.
But, all that being said, I want to leave my expectations behind me. It’s obviously an ongoing battle, that I believe I am winning (some days are better than others), but progress is progress!

So, here’s my final version of my poem on Expectations. You may have seen earlier drafts, but I decided they sucked – er, um, what I mean to say, is – I decided that they were a little too rough around the edges. So, I may be deleting them. If you read and preferred a previous draft, feel free to let me know and I can send it to you.

Otherwise, here it is:

Okay, I should say that one might get the impression that I am emo or depressed from this blog.  But I should state – writing is cathartic for me. If I feel a moment of disappointment, or a worry of expectation, than writing about that pain, fear, or guilt – well, the mere act of writing it down, getting it on the page and out of my head – that is as good as a sigh of relief. It gets out and lets me get on to thinking about better things.
Like, how nice it is sit in this moment, with a happy heart, listening to my daughter’s breathing over the monitor and the keys clacking as my husband works next to me. Thinking about the run we just finished, the life we are leading, and the places we are going.
And in this moment, this moment without expectations? All I can think is that I have a truly wonderful and blessed life.

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