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    Expectations

    “The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.”

    Eli Khamarov

    When I drop Pip off at Daisytree pre-school two mornings a week, it provides Fig and I with a two-hour chunk of one-on-one time.  During the week-long Spring Break, Fig demonstrated a few negative, attention-seeking behaviours and I wondered if she was missing our mother-daughter time.  Our first week back at school, I was really looking forward to being able to focus all of my attention on Fig for awhile. I drove the girls to Daisytree, we walked Pip into the school and hugged her good-bye, and then I asked Fig what she wanted to do for our ‘date.’

    “Play,” said Fig.  She didn’t want to leave the wonders of the Daisytree environment.  She wanted to stay with Pip.  I tried to entice her with a trip to the park, to the muffin shop, to the playground, but Fig didn’t budge.  She liked looking at the worms in the kiddie pool that was in the pre-school’s back-yard.  After about fifteen minutes of worm-watching, I told Fig that we had to go.  I tried all of the tactics in my arsenal to convince her to leave peacefully, but in the end, I had to pick Fig up and carry her to the car.

    I always hate having to physically remove my kids when they’re not cooperating.  I feel like a bully:  “Okay, you’re not doing what I want, so I’ll use my size and strength to overpower you.”  I know I wouldn’t like to be hoisted under someone’s arm against my will.  I do it as a last resort, but it never feels good.

    Fig became so upset with me, that she cried in the car for the next fifteen minutes.  When we arrived at her favourite playground, she calmed down and we proceeded to have a great time.  We played hide and seek, slid down the slide together, told knock-knock jokes while Fig was in the swing, and had a tender cuddle when she fell down a couple of steps.  Then it was time to leave.  Once again, Fig wanted to stay right where she was.  There were more tears, and her general dissatisfaction continued for the next hour.  She didn’t want her shoes removed, she didn’t want to wash her hands, she didn’t want me to put her down, she didn’t like the lunch I made, and she didn’t want to nap.  You’ve been there.   Clearly, this was not the idyllic mother-daughter time that I had anticipated.

    My expectation was that Fig and I would have a glorious morning together, and in reality, there were probably as many minutes of crying as there were non-crying ones.

    Last weekend I had my first newborn photo-shoot.  The New Mom had told me that her week-old bundle of joy slept so soundly in the afternoons, we would be able to place her on any prop and she’d slumber peacefully.  With the parents input, I set-up about six different scenarios for the baby-shoot.  I even borrowed a bike with a basket, hoping to capture some great ‘baby in the basket’ images.  Both the parents and I had very high expectations, but the baby had other ideas.

    She was awake for the entire photo shoot, and she was definitely not happy about being placed, naked and alone, upon strange new surfaces.  Who could blame her?  She wanted to be clothed and swaddled and cuddled.  Isn’t that what all newborns want, and deserve?

    And who could blame Fig, for that matter?  No-one.  Fig is a normal two-year-old, making sense of the world and trying to make her wishes known and respected.  She is asserting her independence, and it’s a healthy, encouraging part of her growth.

    Both situations have me examining the whole notion of ‘expectations.’  This is not a new theme for me.  Sometimes it’s helpful to have high expectations, because it encourages me to achieve wonderful things.  When they’re too high, however, the disappointment can alter the enjoyment of the experience.

    If I look back on these two experiences and erase my expectations, I feel hugely satisfied.  The photos captured during the newborn shoot are precious.  I love looking at them.  The beauty of this little family is overwhelming.  (www.pantusophotography.com.)  Likewise, being at the playground with Fig was a lovely experience!  She adored having all of my attention and we shared a lot of laughs.

    It brings to mind the wonderful Ekhart Tolle books (that I need to re-visit) about living in the moment.  How can I be bothered with expectations when I’m fully present in the now?  It’s one of my biggest challenges in life.  To simply live in the moment.

    I’m up for it.

    waterkiss

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