Week 51: That Inevitable Disappointment

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Once a week (or there abouts), I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#1 Connect better with the scalawags, according to their Love Languages

For someone who spends a lot of time thinking about how to love her children according to their love languages, and who spends a really really really long time considering gifts and how to give them in such a way that the receiver feels reall really really loved…

Well, I totally failed.

Yes, your Fairy Godmother, who is the one who tells you to “unhook yourself from the peg of other people’s reactions”, failed.

There were good moments, of course. We celebrated Christmas early among the four of us, with the gifts from the scalawag’s Aunt Poppy, (who knocked it outta the park again this year…), plus the boys giving each other gifts between themselves that were thoughtful and extremely well-received… But did I articulate them, according to Resolution #20 Practice Mindfulness: articulate and savor the good moments? Of course not.

So all that is left is the memory of my youngest, who, although he received exactly the gift he asked for on Christmas Day from his French grandparents, I found standing in a doorway, trying to hide the fact that he was crying because his gift was smaller in package than his brother’s.

Now, I cannot blame him for this. I cannot even mildly say that he was being ungrateful. I want to point out that he was trying to hide the fact that he was crying. But it’s the fact that he wasn’t adequately prepared for the fact that when we get what we want, even exactly what we want, we can end up disappointed.

The reasons for the disappointment, no surprise here, are related to our tendency to compare. And comparing does no one any favors.

How can I love this little boy through his disappointment? Certainly not the way I did.

Because the child had asked for, and received a crystal growing kit. The kind in which you add water and as the water evaporates, the residue forms crystals…his current passion.

But because the experiment has to be left undisturbed for 7 days, and we were leaving the grandparents’ house the next day…well, I told him we couldn’t do the experiment, or risk ruining it in the transport. And this saddened him even more.

O! the tears. O! the disappointment!

It breaks my heart when I see this child react…because I see myself and disappointment that I have and still do experience from time to time. I wish I could impart on him the life lessons that would help him put his disappointment in perspective. It breaks my heart that he doesn’t yell or get angry. He just goes to a darkened doorway to cry where he thinks no one will see him.

It’s incredibly difficult to raise a child who is so exactly like ourselves.

22 in 22 Round-up

I tried really hard to keep an eye on my 22 in 22 this year. But let’s admit…22 resolutions was a few too many. I know that for next year. We won’t be attacking a “23 in 23!”, that much I can say!!

I’d say that with one exception, I gave some thought to, or some concrete steps towards accomplishing all 22 at one point or another this year, which, while I didn’t significantly make progress in most of them, is already something.

When I look back at my weekly-ish check-ins, the one that I tried the very hardest to work-on was to love my scalawags according to how they understand love. It is also, incidentally, the most bittersweet of all of my resolutions for this year. It’s definitely the one that brought me to tears the most often.

I wish love was an investment on which there was an immediate return. It would be so much easier to stay motivated over the long term. And what if it is an investment that doesn’t pay-off? Then what?

Ugh. I’m not sure that is the best attitude with which to go into the new year. I’ve got some thinking to do.

Episode 63: Foresight Sing With Your Feet

This week, we look at how we can love ourselves better by planning ahead.
  1. Episode 63: Foresight
  2. Episode 62: Memory
  3. Episode 61: Novelty
  4. Episode 60: How to Have Great Sex
  5. Episode 59: I Have A Theory

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

One thought on “Week 51: That Inevitable Disappointment

  1. This was such a good mother’s goal! Well done. We do not always get it right. Even with every effort. God has given me 31 years with my son and now 28 with my daughter to be the best mother I am capable of being. I am so glad for the extra time. May I have 30 more years…


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