Great Expectations

My oldest son had a rotten morning. I asked him why. He said nothing was going right, the way he wanted it to. It got me thinking – what puts me in a foul mood?

Some mornings I wake up to birds singing, blue skies, happy children, and all is right with the world. Other mornings are filled with whining, crying, and fighting. Why? Did we not pray enough? Did we ‘wake up on the wrong side of the bed?’ Or do we just get selfish.

“For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serveone another through love. For the whole lawis fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:13-16)

I asked my son about his expectations for the day, and after a long discussion, we determined that he was thinking about himself and not considering the needs of others. My wheels kept turning. I get short-tempered when my children aren’t doing what I want, when I want, how I want. Me, me, me! My expectations are to have 7 angelic heads, halos included, staring straight ahead at Mass, hands clasped in laps, legs crossed and tucked under the pews. Really?! Yes, really. No wonder I end up frazzled. These are children, not angels, not robots either. They aren’t motivated my threats and mistreatment, but kindness and love, just like me. The fastest way to get a 4 year old to disobey is to yell at them. Trust me.

Perhaps those grumpy days start out with me not wanting to get out of bed. Not entirely because I’m lazy or tired, just selfish. Let them get their own breakfast. I want to stay in this cozy, quiet, whine-free zone. Those kinds of expectations just spell disaster. What happens when I finally do get out of bed and the busyness of a 9-person home begins? I’m still in ‘ME’ mode, but everyone else needs me to switch to ‘Others’ mode. That’s where the frustration begins. Can’t you put on your own shoes, little 2 year old? Do I really have to find some clean socks for you, husband? Baby, stop crying! Can’t I eat my breakfast in peace? It all ends once I switch to ‘Others’ mode. Of course I’ll help my 2 year old with her shoes – she’s only 2. Of course I’ll find some socks for you husband – I’m sorry I didn’t finish the laundry. Of course I’ll pick you up baby – I’ll give you a kiss to stop the crying. Same demands, different expectations. Surrendering the ‘ME’ mode.

Perhaps I am like a robot.

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