Premeditated Resentment

I intentionally set my expectations low for my 40th, given that we are in the midst of high-stress transition, far from family and close friends. When things started out so good (sleep, flowers, chocolate caramels, lunch with new friends...I mean, really!) I felt down-right chipper and let it go to my head.

Then the phone call came. All you parents with children who struggle at school know the dreaded phone call. Kids were in his face pushing him about why he wasn't doing his work. He ignored them. They pushed harder. The teachers did nothing. He responded with a "fun-fact" that was interpreted as a threat. The principal agreed that it wasn't really a threat, but he "had to" give at least a 1-day suspension.

We weren't upset at our poor kid--we gave hugs and love and reassurance. But it didn't matter. The 12-eyed beast otherwise-known-as-shame had already set up house, and it managed to suck us all into that place of tension and angst.

I was a bit in denial. After all, it was my birthday! We decided to go out to dinner to celebrate, as a family. Insane. But before we left, I told everyone they owed me a gift, and the only thing I wanted was a photo of me with my 4 kids. Pure Insanity. Let's just say we ended up angrily driving to an overpriced restaurant that we didn't enjoy much, after a full 6-member family fight in the front lawn over smiling for a picture. Not exactly how I saw the day ending.

Fast forward through the 10 days between my birthday and Mother's Day. One day I stayed in my pj's all day and never bothered to shower--it was awesome. One day I slept in again, until like 7am! One day Chad took the boys fishing and I totally vegged with my easy-going girls.

Cue Mother's Day. Another big day, another day that's supposed to be special. I forgot all about it, and woke up to the sounds of kids running wild downstairs. Chad slept through it, and I let him--he'd let me several previous mornings. An hour later, Chad stumbled down horrified that he'd slept in on MD. No biggie, I promised. We enjoyed our coffee, but then I needed a refill. On my way to the kitchen, I saw a large thread on the carpet. Always one to multi-task, I went to pick it up. And it moved.

"Why is there a large worm on my dining room floor????" I asked.

How did that get in here?...There's no way it could be connected to the container of worms I put in the fridge after fishing with the boys...It must just be a coincidence. Nice try, buddy!

Bad news? The lid wasn't on tight, and kamikaze worms crawled out, leaving trails of dirt (yes, I know it might not have been dirt, but we're going with dirt, ok?????) all over my fridge. Good news? The kids drew great pleasure from rescuing them "as your Mother's Day present, momma!"

After church, I took a risk and joked, "Hey, you guys still owe me a picture!" And this time it
worked! All 6 of us smiling, happy to be documented together. No eye-rolls, no jealous jockeying for position, no sabotage.

So what's the point of these two glass-half-full (or where they half-empty?) days. The point is that they were "supposed to be" special days. Perfect days. Days that I was tempted to place expectations on those people around me; days where the degree-of-fullness in my cup depended on my imperfect kids and my imperfect husband.

As Al-Anon so brilliantly reminds me, "An expectation is a premeditated resentment."

There are no perfect days. Not in a fallen world filled with fallen people all intersecting and bumping our imperfections into each other. Not with 4 kids and a husband and siblings and parents and friends all needing different things and going through different things. So one day I got to sleep in. Another day I was amazed with watching the sweetness of the kids laughing together. Another day Chad took the boys out to give me some peace. One day I got a great family picture. No one day is perfect, but all the days together give a perfectly right life. The more I can grasp this, the freer I am to celebrate the joys for as long as they last, and let the failures go.

Mind you, that doesn't mean I rejoiced when I found another dried and shriveled up worm in the midst of the butter yesterday.







  1. So amazing. Sometimes I read your stories in the rush of my busy days. But when I saw this title, I chose to save the link instead. Then finished the things I was doing. It didn't leave my mind though, so I got back as soon as I could, And am glad I waited to read it slowly. You story takes words right out of my mouth. Sheer simplicity, honesty and beauty in the way you learn your lessons and share them with us. I totally relate to this.

    1. Thanks, John Roy! It was so great to see you again. Keep us updated on life after graduation!

  2. Not only good writing, but true life painted so well. Thanks to your mom for sharing!

    1. Thank you! Are you guys still overseas or are you also back?

  3. Beautiful Family! Glad all is well with you. I do try to read your amazing stories (blogs) sporadically. Very inspiring! Very funny! Just how I would have pictured your family life!

    It is actually the first time I am leaving a post. But, I just have to wish you a BELATED Happy B-day and Happy Mother's Day!

    Always thinking of all you! Happy writing :)

    1. Thanks for reading, for responding, and for the birthday and mother's day wishes!


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