Not So Great - Expectations

Not So Great - Expectations

I wind little tendrils of wet, blonde hair around my fingers, making curls as I go.  Perfect little circles make a golden halo.  Finally, I have created my masterpiece – a head full of ringlets.

“What do you think?” I ask.

“Bupooo!” he declares and splashes his hands into the tub with great flourish.

Suddenly I realize; it’s true – boys are just as much fun as girls.  All my life I had visions of a daughter, a gigantic Barbie doll I could dress in pink bows and little glittery shoes.  We’d play pretend games in which we were princesses in elaborate gowns hosting fancy balls and dinners.  I couldn’t imagine anything else.

I was a little girl (my husband will tell you that at times, I still am), so all I could conceive of was having a little girl to play.  In the vast expanse of my imagination I had written my future as a remake of my past with better graphics, newer actors and updated special effects. 

This was certainly not the first time, either.  According to the script, college was to be just like high school only bigger and with no dress code.  Over and over I realized that I had come to expect things to play out a certain way and then, over and over I was surprised - and even a little disappointed.  We try to invent reliability based on our expectations and then what happens when things don’t go according to plan?  We’re thrown for a loop.  Why? For the sake of our own self-invented futures?  If there is one thing I have learned on this unplanned journey through Teshuva (return to observance) it’s that we are naught before HaShem. 

This is HaShem’s world.  He made it and we learn in Tanya (central text on Chabad Chassidism written by the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi) that at every moment He is remaking it and breathing life into it.  When we try to write our lives ahead of time, we deny ourselves the opportunity to be swayed by HaShem’s miracles every day and truly feel His influence on our lives.  To be disappointed that the script wasn’t followed, is to deny the great things He has planned for us and our children.

Certainly our expectations for our children are even clearer than those we have for ourselves.  We rank their height and weight on charts; give them stickers and certificates, percentages and letters marking their achievements.  We boast to other mothers about wallpapering the dining room with report cards.  We base our ideas of our own unique little miracles upon everyone else’s.  When they don’t earn the “A”s, star stickers and such, in whom are we really disappointed?

Did HaShem send our newborns down from heaven with charts?  No, He gave us only our natural love for them, engraved wordlessly upon our hearts.  When they don’t follow the script or the highest percentile on the chart, who are we to lose even the most minute amount of faith that this is anything but an expression of the miracle He entrusted to us?

Despite my best efforts, my son’s hair dries silky straight against his 15 month old little head.  Smelling of baby shampoo and rubbing his eyes, I snuggle him down for bedtime.  I sing the Shema to him as well as a song about wanting to visit the moon but returning to that which I love most.  Ve’Ahavta es HaShem Elokecha  Be’kol Levavcha u’B’kol Nafshecha…  “You shall love HaShem, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul.”  As much as I can’t resist trying to anticipate what the next moment will bring, I hope to remember, above all, the miraculous adventures that HaShem’s world holds and that my greatest adventure; the journey of motherhood has just begun.

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