In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Monday, November 20, 2006

Great Expectations

Life doesn't always turn out the way you expect.

No duh.

Of course, I know that. I've learned it a bazillion times over. But I still hang on to my expectations with unrelenting tenacity.

Late-in-life motherhood shook, rattled and rolled my expectations. The upcoming holiday season provides another chance for me to learn to replace my wish-I-may-wish-I-might dreams with reality.

My friend, Mary, is a Mommy-come-lately like me. We enjoyed a pleasantly uninterrupted phone call today. Mary talked about what she hoped the Thanksgiving Day would look like--and what it is really going to be like.

Mary is caught between the needs of older parents and the needs of her five-year-old son. And, try as she might, she can't reconcile the two. She wants her son to be surrounded by family--cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents--for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, that isn't going to happen. Her son's cousins are years older than he is and not involved with his life. Her father is ailing and unable to make it to Mary's house for Thanksgiving dinner. And Mary wants her son to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at home.

That's just reality. After wrestling with her wants and dreams, Mary let go of them.

"You go with what you've got," Mary said.

The holiday isn't what she hoped for, but she is determined to make the best of it, even as she accepts that family will be few for the holidays.

Bravo, Mary! You know when reality trumps expectations--and you're wise enough to accept it too.

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