After an incredibly stressful week, it ended with a lovely Sunday. After quite a bit of church shopping, we found a place we are going to consistently attend and hopefully call home.
After church, I started cooking dinner for guests we would be entertaining later that evening. My husband was hovering in the kitchen, taking in the aromas of Italy, hoping to get a sample when I asked the big ask: “Can you change Anderson’s shirt and help me get a picture of the kids.”
I saw every bit of Sabbath day peace run out of my husband’s body. But he didn’t complain. I was cooking one of his favorite meals, after all.
We debated where to take the first dressed up picture of all three offspring. We knew the lighting would be better outside, but safely capturing a photo would be near impossible. So, I settled for our beat-up couch and carefully positioned the Benfield Three.
We did the usual thing parents do. One behind the iPhone, the other trying to get the kids to look at the camera and smile naturally while armed with a set of jokes and over-the-top gestures. I took about a dozen three dozen pictures in about one minute two minutes. After the clicking was done, I scrolled through my camera roll and said, “We got some decent ones,” and walked back to the kitchen.
My husband followed me, jaw ajar, stunned. “That’s it?” “Yes, that’s it,” I said.
“I’m not going to lie, I was dreading that.”
He didn’t have to say it, I knew. I also knew he was completely justified in feeling that way. When it comes to special occasions (in this case, just getting the picture of the three of them together for the first time) I get completely stressed out trying to capture the moment. I want them all to look their best. I want them to listen. How hard is it to look at the camera after all?
Last Halloween, I went nearly outside my mind trying to get the perfect shot of Violet and Anderson dressed as Cinderella and Gus Gus. I knew I went overboard and yet still couldn’t help snapping away, practically begging the kids (ages 3 and 1.5) to cooperate
My expectations have been too high. Absurdly high. What happens when my expectations are out of reach? Disappointment. Whatever joy I’m trying to capture becomes tarnished.
I wonder how many us come up empty because of our great expectations? We expect too much out of our spouse, our kids, our friends, our family, a family trip or even a small picture session.
We expect others to act the way we think we would if the tables were turned. Which often leaves us feeling let down or even resentful because of the expected outcome we have conjured up in our minds.
When we went through Anderson’s diagnosis, I found myself at odds with many. They didn’t respond the way I thought they should. It made me angry and bitter. Now, I see that many of those times I would not have had known what to do or say myself. So this time, when we went through our new son’s diagnosis, my expectations were more appropriate. People are people. We all deserve some grace.
My great expectations became managed expectations. The result? Less energy spent on anger and a little less heartbreak,too.
And in the case of the first sibling picture session? Lower blood pressure, happier family, and some
decent cute photos.
This is a new series at News Anchor To Homemaker. Every week I’ll be looking for a story, a lesson to learn from. It may come from my kids, husband, a stranger, one of my children’s many care providers, teachers, a church sermon, news event or something I’ve read. My blog posts are typically reflections of my own life. What I hope will be a bit different about this series is to find the bigger story, or moral, that we can all take something away from. Things that make us think. Also, my writings can sometimes take me hours upon hours to complete. These writings may be a bit shorter, might have a more casual style and will likely not be as big of an emotional commitment to read. I’ve heard on occasion that I’m a real tear-jerker! I’m hoping to provide a bit of thought and maybe even a lift to the middle part of your week. Thanks for taking this journey with me.