I’ve lived most of my life with low expectations – always swimming below the surface, just under the radar. It’s a protective layer for me, a shield from the potential discomfort of being disappointed or swallowed by, I don’t know, a seagull or something. It’s also kept me from basking on the shore, spread out and vulnerable like a starfish in the midst of a luxurious nap. (And in these early days of baby-rearing, who doesn’t want a nap?)
But somewhere along the line, I’ve confused low expectations with zero faith. I’ve navigated parenting with a “What if?” gnat buzzing in my ear, always anticipating the worst: public tantrums and sleepless nights and stressed out spouses. And yes, these do arrive. But…
Are they arriving because I’ve been waiting for them, looking out the front window with anticipation and anxiety?
We see what we’re looking for. And in parenting, I sometimes look for the wrong things entirely.
We’re prepping for our first international trek as a family of three next month, and until today, I’ve been holding my breath. What if she doesn’t sleep on the plane? What if she screams the entire time? What if we can’t adjust to the jet lag and we’re all sleep-deprived and I collapse in the middle of Singapore in a massive, public meltdown?
All of the above are plausible scenarios, to be fair. But you know what else might happen? We might have a wonderful time. Bee will sleep when she sleeps and we’ll adjust when we adjust and we’ll spill some graham crackers on the plane but all will be well. The world will be standing and turning and the good – as it always does – will outweigh the bad.
It’s time for me to expect the best. It’s time to join that napping starfish on the shore.