Lowered Expectations

Whenever I caught a glimpse of the Christmas tree today, my body temperature became instantly feverish, and my vision was blurred by the flames shooting out of my eyeballs.

Yesterday Jack went on a tour de abode while we were talking to our home teachers. The upshot of his rampage is that the once-stately Christmas tree lay humiliated on the floor, surrounded by a swath of ornaments and a pool of water into which Jack had apparently been stuffing food for weeks. The throw-down transferred the stinking Petri dish/tree water from the tree stand to the rug.
I woke in the middle of the night yesterday and walked downstairs to see that the top of the tree was dark as some lights had tumbled down in the assault by the nine-year-old. Standing on a chair and re-stringing the lights on the top of the cork bark fir in the very wee hours, I wanted so badly to go upstairs and karate-chop Jack. See how he likes being the recipient of the too-deep sensory pressure. 
Author’s Aside: He would probably like being karate chopped, because it would somehow be just the right amount of deep sensory input, as well as being delightfully unexpected. He would probably laugh.
I don’t know how to teach Jack to stop trashing things when he is frustrated/mad/bored/sick. 
My inability to change this behavior leaves me fuming with so much natural gas fired heat that the air probably distorts and shimmers around me. Stay back. Be wary of explosion.
Thus, the irrational and consuming anger every time I looked at the Christmas tree today.

I don’t have the heart to fix it. Why should I rehang the ornaments and the garlands when they will almost surely be vandalized again?
Because Christmas is almost here, that’s why, and it would be nice to have more than two ornaments and one drooping felt chain falling off the tree and dragging on the floor as we gather in the family room on Christmas Day.

I sat by my neighbor, Jennifer, as a Christmas dinner recently. She shared with me a treasured bit of information she has recently gleaned from a mom who she looks up to (and I quote), “Because she has successfully raised seven children, none of whom are serial killers.”

This is the advice from the mom of the seven reasonably law-abiding grown children:

Lower your expectations.

It makes sense. Jennifer has gained a sense of lightness and freedom from this wise gem. I’m mulling over how to apply it effectively in my family.

I’ll compose a list of possible ways to lower the expectations:

1. Leave the denuded tree as it is. Let Christmas happen in Whoville with no baubles and garlands.

2. That’s all I can come up with at present.

  4 comments for “Lowered Expectations

  1. December 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Your writing is so beautiful, even when the story is not, or the apparently the tree. Perhaps your family can take on the tradition of not decorating the tree until Christmas Eve.
    I too am always having to remind myself to lower my exceptions of myself, and also my children…and my spouse…and my…

  2. December 19, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    “I wanted so badly to go upstairs and karate-chop Jack. See how he likes being the recipient of the too-deep sensory pressure.”

    Literally laughed out loud at this! And then felt your pain in this,

    “Author’s Aside: He would probably like being karate chopped, because it would somehow be just the right amount of deep sensory input, as well as being delightfully unexpected. He would probably laugh.”

    I catch myself being so frustrated that I just can’t get through to Jameson. Sometimes I go to extremes to get a reaction that I deem suitable for a situation. I want him to react the way I THINK he should. So frustrating, and so disappointing. I’m with you, I need to not have any expectations, and not put conditions on my love (I’ll love you WHEN, or I’ll love you IF) – just love unconditionally… But now I’m just rambling about all my current inner turmoil. I LOVE YOU MEGAN!

  3. December 20, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Wow…I totally needed this today! I think I might need a sticky note on my mirror that says “lower your expectations!” I also loved the “serial killer” quote! That is too funny! Thank you, Megan, for writing such a fantastic blog! I read it often, and it always makes me smile. Let’s chat soon, ok?

  4. December 31, 2013 at 4:56 am

    I love you and I love your blog. Very much.

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