Expectations.... they're like assholes. We all have them and they stink. No, that's opinions. Sorry. Wrong metaphor.
Anyway, I've been thinking about expectations. I lived with a man for 27 years (known him for 32) who had low to no expectations. For me, for the world, for himself. Well, at least none that he voiced (which was always the problem). So does that mean you are never disappointed when you have no expectations?
Kids and children. Parents have expectations of their kids. We expected our children to do well in school. No discussion. And we were rarely, if ever disappointed. (When Dorothy, Daughter #2) made a B+ in Language Arts as a 6th grader, I said, "How did that happen?" And she replied, "Because the teacher bores the crap outta me." I'd met the teacher at Open House. She was boring.) So the older is out of college and the younger is s sophomore, and we have expectations that they did and will do well. We also have expectations that they are caring, giving, kind humans, and for the most part (unless you are related), we have no been disappointed. But I have recently been faced with expectations that my children will do or say what is expected after I have spent a lifetime of fulfilling their expectations.
A very wise man once told me "Your kids will never love you the way you love them." I think the same is true of expectations. Our kid expect us to love them unconditionally and be at their beck and call. And for the most part, we are. Admit it. They fall down, we are there. They need help with homework, we are there. The need a ride to this or that, we have the car in the driveway ready to back out. They need clothes (shoes, sports equipment, food), we fulfill their expectations. They are rarely, if ever, disappointed.
But when we turn to them with some needs and expectations, they are not always there because it's not their job to fulfill our expectations, now is it? I moved a year ago to a "new" city, not exactly new since it was their college town, but new to me. In many respects, the kids have been helpful with moves (3 so far), but if I ever had any expectations that they would help me the same way I have helped them over the years, I had better get over it. I moved to this third location all by myself. They did not lift a finger. As I left Mabel's (Daughter #1) apartment with my arms full, I had to ask her to open the door. And trust me, she begrudgingly got off her fat ass while watching tv to do so. I had expectations that she would be kind and helpful and was disappointed. Right now, I would like to get my tv retrieved from my first location but each daughter continues to be busy.
So a another wise friend (I have many) asked me, "So are you expecting the job to get done or are you expecting to be loved?" By not pressing them into service, am I afraid they won't love me if I demand some help. Or do I set out with expectations of getting my tv moves regardless of how they feel about me afterwards?
So why did the ex have no expectations of me or himself? Was he hoping never to be disappointed? But he also risked never being fulfilled. He didn't expect me to be skinny, but he didn't expect me to be healthy. A two-edged sword. He didn't expect to have a lifetime partner with rousing conversation, but he also wasn't disappointed when he wasn't the man I wanted to communicate with. So do we go through like with low to no expectations so our hearts don't break or do we raise the bar so that we get the job done?
There are no answers to these questions. I guess now that the divorce is over, it doesn't resolve everything. I still have a hundred questions swirling daily. Where to live? How is the job working? Where do I fit into my children's lives? What do I expect in life? And will I be disappointed when I don't get what I expect? Or will I be giddy when life exceeds my expectations?
Right now, I was expecting to watch the Emmy's. I am disappointed in the weekend.