Angels In My Rearview

I am a 30 year old MOM of 2, WIFE of 1. My chilluns are almost 3 and 1. I live in Texas as of the beginning of 2006. I have a wonderful and nearly-perfect husband who such praise is lost on because he is much less swayed by any acclaim, or already knows it. I am mostly fulfilled by my job, sometimes overwhelmed, and frequently searching for deeper meaning under piles of laundry. I believe in documenting the things that leave impressions and that make you laugh. Thus, I blog.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Low Expectations

I have decided that this will have to be my approach in what I accomplish in a day. Yesterday I had moderate expectations and felt VERY frustrated by the end of the day. Those of you who know me well, know that I am not overly ambitious in what I feel needs to be accomplished in a day. I'm okay with a full shower being my greatest accomplishment in a day. Or clean kids. Or a clean house. Rarely all in one day. Unless I have company coming. Anyway---yesterday I had big dreams of getting up, getting all parties I'm responsible for clothed and fed, and going on a nice morning walk with my two angels. Well, by 9 am I was just getting myself dressed finally and taking gulps of a smoothie in between and Avery started her "I'm tired" routine. It consists of trailing me around the house (at an alarmingly high speed) wailing and screeching and persistently grabbing my legs to corner me with her body. So I give in on my hopes of a walk and put her to bed. She sleeps from 9:40 to 12:51. So Ben and I putter around all morning coloring, cleaning, eating, and reading. Ben starts showing tired signs at 12:30 and is asleep by 12:50. For that one minute my children are asleep at the same time, I flop on my bed (after an exhausting morning) and fantasize that I will get to read a chapter, or maybe two while curled up on my oh-so-heavenly-not-napped-on-nearly-enough bed. Avery's gleeful babbles from her crib immediately dispel any fantasy of any sort. I go get her and revel in her first few minutes of cuddliness---she's always so appreciative of being retrieved from her crib.

I tried to do an exercise tape. Anyone who's tried to do that with a 1 year old in the room knows what a joke that is. Avery sees my stretching as an invitation to treat me like a jungle gym. Warm up jog become a staggering and clutching of the entertainment center while Avery hopes for a free ride, clinging to my leg. I put Avery back down at 3 and Ben woke up at 3:10. Avery only took a cat nap so at 3:40 I got diapers changed, bathroom trips, shoes on, and headed out with the kids for a walk. It ended up being a leisurely tour of the grounds as dictated by Benjamin and when we headed back to the trail for a walk, I saw that it was time to start dinner and that Jay was home. I went home, dumped the kids on him for a trip to the park and started dinner.
It was a good dinner. By 6 PM, that was the only verifiable accomplishment I had to my name for that day. My kids were rested and neither were malnourished, or had rashes---but really, that's more like preventative maintenance than accomplishments.

When I was 21, turning 22 I was on my mission at Temple Square. My mom sent me a letter a few weeks before my birthday giving the advice of keeping my expectations low and I won't be disappointed. This is really sound advice in some situations. Not so sound in other situations such as, let's say, choosing a spouse, or medical care, or personal hygiene. But in this situation, it was great advice. I thought my mom probably gave it so not to have to feel bad when "all" she sent me for my birthday was a brand new outfit and a silky Victoria's Secret nightie (I'm not kidding, it was in my color, so I got it---on my mission, from my mother). Well, I kept my expectations low and it was truly one of the best birthdays of my life. We had a rehearsal for the songs we were going to sing for the ground breaking of the new Conference Center. So at 7 am I arrived at the tabernacle where over 100 sister missionaries were already seated and broke into an impromptu, but heavenly rendition of Happy Birthday--- as I walked up to my seat. Now really, how many people do you know have gotten to experience something like that? Later my friends surprised me with a pre-breakfast party with chocolate cupcakes. So low were my expectations going into this party, that when I opened the cupboard the day before and saw an entire plate of chocolate cupcakes hidden inside---I only suspected my roommate who was "dieting" with me, had found her weakness and was hiding it. She totally thought I was just acting dumb and knew it was for my birthday, but it wasn't until she pulled them out, frosted, for the party, that I put two and two together. My love of asian food had somehow made its way around the mission and about 5 different Asian missionaries made me their country's version of fried rice. SOOOOOOOOO yummy. Laotian was my favorite.

Another birthday I had that I didn't follow my mom's advice---was shortly after I was married. Jay and I got married ON Jay's birthday. So, he had a pretty sweet birthday. Mine was 3 weeks later. I had all kinds of hopes and dreams of being spoiled and overwhelmed with gifts and tokens of Jay's affection and adoration. To his credit, he DID make me a cake (but it wasn't chocolate--how little he knew then) and he DID make me dinner---but I had expectations and they were not met. When I wept, "just one little gift, you couldn't get me just one little gift?" Jay's eyes bugged and he turned around in our tiny studio apartment, his arms sweeping about and gesturing to basically every corner of our house, laden with gifts from our wedding. "Our entire house is FULL of gifts Angela, what more could you possibly want?" Yeah, that didn't go over so well. The fact of the matter was, I was married to a wonderful man, and really had no needs or wants---but I went into the situation with expectations and was disappointed.

So today, my expectations are low. And so far, Avery needing a nap hasn't made me want to swear, and if I don't get a walk in the morning, there's always this afternoon, when the sun is blazing and the bugs are swarming.

On a completely different note, Ben has started using his hands to gesture and enhance his WHY'S. He shrugs up his shoulders and puts his little hands out palm up, somewhere up by his ribs. Seriously, it's adorable. Do kids go to some secret cuteness school to learn these things?
Yesterday I DID get to go on a walk with Ben after dinner and while we were on it, some rollerbladers passed by. Benjamin informed me that Jacob had told him he couldn't ride on those skates until he was bigger. He then did the cute gesture with his hands out and said, "But I AM bigger mom, why Jacobs says that?" I told him when he knew how to properly conjugate 'say' he'd be big enough.

4 Comments:

  • At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Low Expectations" was just for me. I am still adjusting to a life that doesn't include going to work everyday. It is odd, the sense of accomplishment that just going to another place seems to provide. I have been watching a one year-old for the last seven months, which I really enjoyed. His mom recently had another child and is now at home with both children. I talked to her this morning and she asked about our routine when I was watching her child. It sounded, well lame, when I told her about playing cars, reading books and taking walks. How did that take up the whole nine hours I had Brock in my care? Somehow it did. I guess I have been contemplating how much about life is routine and doesn't sound all that impressive when we tell other people. A lot of our happiness does depend on our own attitude and perspective.
    I remember the singing, but I don't remember getting any of the cupcakes. It has been a while.

     
  • At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Alicia said…

    I didn't mean for that to be anonymous, I just goofed.

     
  • At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Heather from One Woman's World said…

    I think that you should be proud of such a day. And that Benjamin did go to the cuteness school!!!

     
  • At 7:54 PM, Blogger Big Jay said…

    Ang(els in my rearview)... Your blog is sweet. I think you should ask your husband to do the housework all weekend so you can post some more.

     

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