Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day :: expectations


So, how was Mother's Day? Was it all sunny and perfect... a wonderful day of happiness & relaxation like you'd hoped? Or, had you hoped for anything at all?

{Sitting outside on Mother's day with my iPad & coffee}

I'm asking because I toyed with the idea myself. What did I hope for?

For me, holidays since I've become a mom are another form of stress. The thing that gets me through them, or to participate at all, is the giving part. I LOVE to give a great gift.

Okay, so the catch there is this...
  • My check book and calendar are not always in sync. I still have not managed to save that extra $50 a month all year long so that I have a Christmas fund. Not to mention, one for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day or birthdays.
  • I may not come up with the perfect gift for the person I'm supposed to be giving to... another calendar issue. When I see something I want to give to someone, I want to do it then. Or, when I can afford to. 
  • I do not like receiving gifts that were bought just-because-it's-a-holiday-and-someone-had-to-buy-me-something. That sounds terrible, I know. It is supposed to be the thought that counts. Well, it is, the thought that counts. If someone is giving a thoughtful gift, then great. Otherwise, just think me a Merry Christmas. With that in mind, I try to observe the same practice for others... only, not everyone feels that way and may be offended if I don't get them something.
So, with all these heavy thoughts on my mind. I started gearing myself up for Mother's Day the day before. By gearing up, I mean that I visualized what the day might look like... I do it mostly so that I'm not disappointed. But, that makes me wonder... what would be disappointing?

I just said that I'd prefer not receiving an obligatory gift. I also said that I don't always come up with a good gift at the right time, and on that note, I also practice that on myself... If I want something, I buy it. If I want a spa day, I schedule it. If I need to get out of town, I go. I do all three of those within reason of course, and while being very considerate of those that will be affected. So, my point is, what could Gabe give, or do for me, that I don't already take care of myself?

Hmm. Back to visualizing the day, the-day-before. I'd like to get up at my leisure, sit outside and drink my coffee, and no cooking or cleaning would be nice. I'd like to be around my family without their needing me to take care of them, or their even wanting me to. I'd LOVE to receive a thoughtful gift.

There. Right there...

"I'd like to be around my family without their needing me to take care of them, or their even wanting me to."

That's a big problem. It's an unrealistic and unfair expectation. I will cut to the chase and tell you that Gabe did everything in his power to make this happen for me; most of the day was really nice because of it, and the kids had a lot of fun. 

But, they needed me. They all did. Yesterday was Gabe's only day off of work and he was exhausted. The kids don't get why I'm around, but don't want to draw or read books. They made messes because I wasn't watching and Gabe isn't used to taking certain precautionary measures. 

I felt guilty. 

I felt guilty for wanting what I wanted in the first place. I felt like the day would have been better had it just not been Mother's Day. I'm nowhere near my mom and wasn't able to spend it with her. On top of that, I didn't even get it together enough to send her a card. Did Gabe even call his mom?... if so, I didn't wish her a happy Mother's Day.

Wow. Okay, then...

"I'd LOVE to receive a thoughtful gift."

My mom sent me a lovely and thoughtful card. That was it. 

Except for something that happened by accident, and even then, I took it myself...
                       

Above is an entry in Gabe's daily journal. I took the picture. He and I had been sitting at the table, finishing lunch and talking about the move to Rangely we are making in a couple days. I was getting considerably more agitated as the conversation progressed, because camper living itself doesn't come easily for me. It is something I'm very happy to do, but would have never chose to live in a camper on my own.

I told Gabe that we needed to stop talking about it because it was putting me in a bad mood. He said, "okay".

But then I continued, to say "Isn't it wicked that you [one] can dream [think] something, and take someone else along with you?"

I explained for a moment... reminding him that he was living in a camper when I found him, then moved into a house while courting me, but has been rambling on about campers and their wonderfulness ever since. I only recently have been convinced.

Anyway, I've taken him on a ride he couldn't have imagined either on account of my own dream. We sat for a moment and took score, agreeing that we were both {at times} puppets in one another's dreams.

He stood suddenly and said, "You wanna talk something wicked?"

I was surprised, and am glad that I stopped short of some pretty smart-ass remarks. He grabbed his journal from the shelf and brought it back to the table, and sat down. He reminded me of a fight we had a couple months ago, where I cited a list I'd written for him during a fight we'd had a few months before that.

I recalled, and said "the like list".

He said, "Yeah, the like list. Remember how you said, where's my like list... I don't have a like list."

Well, of course I'd remembered. I was so mad at him when I wrote the like list {during the first of the two fights}. I had been thinking of all the things I didn't like about him, and whether any of it was rational or right. I decided that I would never be able to change the way he did things, or the things he likes or wants; ultimately realizing that it was pointless to think about the things I didn't like anyway, because I had no interest in changing him at all. He'd been that person all along.

So, when I was mad, I wrote a like list. Then I emailed it to him- The ten things I like most about him. He printed it, and hung it over his desk.

We never talked much about it. But then of course, it came up in our last fight... that I didn't have a like list.

Like I said, it was a couple of months ago. Gabe continued to explain the timing to me, and about how he writes in his book. He uses it for work, and fills in one page after the other; in order by date. Except when he writes random notes. Then he just flips to a blank page somewhere near the back.

So, after our most recent fight, he wrote my like list. He picked a page toward the back, and worked on it here and there when he thought of things to add.

Well, the page you see in the picture landed on Mother's Day. It was not dated and labeled Mother's Day until the day before, May 11th; when he came across the list, just by it being on the next page in his journal... the page he would naturally date Sunday, May 12th... just so happening to be Mother's Day.

{the list reads... }
  1. Honest
  2. Smart; is on it and thinks about stuff 1st
  3. Will try
  4. Persevere; doesn't give up, will see the big picture
  5. Loyal
  6. Thoughtful - Sincere - Gets over small stuff - sees
  7. Clean
  8. Health conscience
  9. Competitive drive
  10. Has a passion
He didn't plan it, and I didn't expect it. But, he couldn't have given me a more thoughtful Mother's Day gift.

I hope you had a wicked Mother's Day... regarding all the other stuff, I don't know. Mother's Day is tough. I don't know what more to do, than to just treat it like a regular ol' day. I'm lucky to stay at home, so my work days are a lot like what someone else might consider a holiday. Maybe that's why on holidays, I just kinda want to work ;)

I'd love to know how yours was, what you did, what you expected, and what you hoped for!

<3, JL

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