The word expectation gets overused on a daily basis, whether we’re managing customer expectations, family expectations or living up to our own (sometimes unreasonable) personal expectations. I’m one, like many, who attempts to adhere to my own overly high standards. Generating a respectable income, managing family finances, cooking*, cleaning all while juggling first time parenting and squeezing in time for physical activity, gardening and other hobbies is draining and seemingly impossible. Yet I often find myself expecting these things to be done and with ease, forgetting the fact that there are 24 hours in every day, no matter how long the to-do list is.
*Let’s get real, we all know Sar is the BEST cook. I’m a great sous chef.
Somewhere along the way, after watching a certain amount of movies, perusing a few IKEA catalogs and being exposed to thousands of ads, I believed that the ideal life I conjured up in my mind was attainable.
All of this doing and achieving leads to a personal pet peeve of mine and that’s the “what’s next?”. “So I heard you graduated university John, congrats – what’s next? Got any jobs lined up?” “Congratulations on tying the knot, Martha! When can we expect the little bundle of joy?” People don’t say it outright, but they expect you to move on to the next step of life with relative ease. We then internalize and ultimately believe these expectations are achievable. And what happens when something we expect doesn’t pan out? Disappointment.
During Sar’s pregnancy we watched the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” giving us a watered down version of the ups and downs of pregnancy in modern times. And the truth is, deep down, I bought what this movie was selling. I expected the cranky wife, sleepless nights (to an extent) and cravings – but that was it. So when we got the news of Ruby’s one kidney in the 20 week ultrasound (see Sar’s initial post ), it was obviously not expected for either of us. The notion that we could have lost our little Roo before meeting her was devastating for me. I know now that a small change in my mindset would have made a world of difference — appreciating the miracle of creating a life instead of expecting future outcomes based on Hollywood.
Ruby is the living, breathing reminder for me to trade our expectation for appreciation. To appreciate each giggle after work and every song she sings at 6:00 am. To appreciate every post nap cuddle and bedtime routine. To appreciate the public healthcare and the world’s best professionals shaping her development. I appreciate how strong she is, how much she has grown, her happy disposition and her “go get ’em” attitude. Ruby, you are so wee but you’ve already taught daddy so much.
Rubies are one of the rarest gemstones in the world. Fine rubies are up to 300 times more rare than white diamonds. My Ruby has altered my core values for the better – one of the rarest things to happen to any grown man.