Disappointment shows up. A lot. I am clear that it is not just in my life, but everyone’s life. We are human with hopes and dreams. We have expectations of how we want things to go, based on what has already occurred in our life, or what has not occurred in our life. Yet with the highest of hopes and without fail, disappointment prevails.
My life right now seems to be jam-packed with it. Ok, maybe not jam-packed, but with an 18-year-old getting ready to leave the nest, disappointment is on the tip of my tongue often.
“I feel disappointed that you did that without caring how it might make me feel,” I say in a kind, loving manner.
I would like to tell you it is received in the same way I intend, but that would be impossible. I have no idea how my 18-year-old hears that mouthful. As a matter of fact, given that he is on the senior year roller coaster, I am sure he doesn’t hear much of anything.
I take score. A lot. And then get disappointed.
Like the seemingly slippery-slope-relationship my son and I have. I see the score board. Him: 18. Me: 0. And I know what it means. If he doesn’t come around much, he doesn’t love me. I can see the score. I’m losing.
Yet he doesn’t see those numbers on the board at all. He sees the field, the ball and the game. He then hugs me and tells me he loves me.
I try to sit in that. I wear it around my shoulders, and share it with everyone I knew. The disappointment continues to wash over me though as the scoreboard glares in my eyes.
It wasn’t until the other day that I recalled his newborn days and being caught off guard by his reactions. After all, I wasn’t a new mom at the time and had been well versed on parenting by my first-born: Put me down, I cry. Pick me up, I stop. Yet I remembered putting this baby in his bouncy seat and thinking, ‘Huh, look at that. He’s smiling.’ There was a moment of bliss, that was then followed with: ‘Maybe he doesn’t love me.’
That proved to be totally untrue. He loved me dearly actually and would began to show it in completely different ways than I was used to. Ways that screamed, ‘Moooom! Look at me! Mooooom look at this!’ He had a different way of sharing and being. He loved loudly in a full of life kind of way. A way that could be completely missed if not watched carefully. But I watched and I saw and I knew, even when faced with disappointment.
In hindsight, though, I know I spent too much time taking score. Plucking each petal as if each one was the final one of: he loves me, he loves me not. When in fact each time I took score we were in the middle of the game, with coaches still on the sidelines and half time scores offering possibility. It makes me wonder what disappointment really is.
Perhaps, standing in disappointment is merely an act of bailing out. A way for us to yell mercy so that we don’t have to try anymore. But why are we bailing out simply because things don’t seem to be turning out the way we had planned? What if it just means the game is still on and there might be a different plan that’s even better?
Well for me, that perspective changes everything. It means that my life isn’t filled with disappointments at all, but with a home team that is always ready to play. A wide open field that makes me want to yell, “Game on!”
And so I ask you: What if…disappointment is simply taking score too soon?