Disappointment… such a lousy emotion. It comes tethered to expectations and rears its ugly head out of nowhere when you think you have ‘it’ all handled. I have tried my best to manage expectations to avoid this nasty sucker. But sometimes shit happens, you are at its mercy, and it takes you down.
To make it short and avoid a pity party, I have managed high blood pressure. It has been controlled for a long time, went a little wacky back in the fall and got back on track. Then I had a reaction to some meds that made me feel very ill and caused my ankle to swell (of course the one I sprained a while back) and the switch of meds set me on a BP roller coaster I do not wish on my worst enemy.
The net: I could not fly. And what was I supposed to do… you bet. Fly. To Spain. To see my boy who is studying abroad. Who I have not seen since January. On a trip we had planned forever. At a time when we really needed a break. On the first real vacation in many, many years. That we can’t reschedule. Not life shattering, just a piece of life that I can’t get back. One of the really fun pieces.
I am coming out the other side of this huge disappointment and all I can do is run through my head all of the things I have told my kids over the years when their expectations were shattered:
- Sometimes you just have to feel like crap.
- Misery gives happiness context.
- Everything happens for a reason and sometimes we don’t find out what that reason is for a long time.
- Who you are when things suck says more about you than who you are when they are great.
- Sometimes its not fair. Period.
On the other end of that wisdom I was fully aware of how annoying that wisdom could be. (sorry kids)
Until a friend of mine posted a favorite Maya Angelou quote that made me smile and think about who I really want to be:
“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Even a Jewish girl gets the last one.
So if you see me knocking on a christian neighbor’s door asking to borrow their christmas lights in the rain wearing the same thing for 2 days in a row, you will know that it is just an exercise.
As is all of life.
As a parent, every few years you are faced with another rite of passage, another adventure your child is about to embark on, another chance for you to show your chops as a parent. Although your heart is hanging on to the hem of their pants as they walk through that door, your head is ready to let them fly…
The last time I wrote one of these my boy was off to college. Seems like yesterday, yet here we, are 3 and half years later and he is off for a semester abroad in Seville, Spain. I thought now would be a good time to give him one of my famous lists of advice. I do this every so often to remind him, or more likely myself, that I am not quite through imparting wisdom just yet. If I write it here instead of tell him all this to his face, I spare myself the humiliation of the sighing and eye-rolling. So here goes, in no particular order.
- Don’t be THAT American. This is similar to what I told my kids when they were first starting to experiment with drinking. Don’t be THAT girl/guy, the one that gets wasted and pukes on themselves. Don’t be THAT American simply means respect the local culture.
- Try to really SEE Europe, don’t just drink Europe. This is obvious to me and quite ridiculous to him. Hopefully somewhere in between will be his reality.
- Keep your eyes open and soak in everything. You never know what might wind up being the answer to what you want to do with your life.
- Be Smart. If it feels wrong, it probably is. If it seems unsafe, it probably is.
- Eat Everything, within reason. No explanation needed.
- Don’t be a dick (not that you ever would be). Again, the international version. This is like number 1 on steroids. Check the ego at the door and you might as well leave the egocentric there to keep it company.
- If you have to play beer pong, make sure you win the 100 Euro. Self-explanatory.
- Amsterdam – you MUST see the Anne Frank House. As Jana said, as a Jew it is your responsibility. Period.
- The rest of your time in Amsterdam. I do not need details, thanks.
- Have the time of your life. This one should be easy.
In all seriousness, you are an amazing young man and have always made us proud. We have no real worries about this trip. We are just a more than a little jealous.
The day my daughter was born I held her in my arms, looked into her eyes and thought, ‘Damn I hope she grows up to be a blogger someday’.
Ok, perhaps 20 years ago there was no such thing as a blogger. Come to think of it there was no mainstream internet to speak of. But I was a visionary.
Today, I am proud to announce my daughter has started her first blog. It will chronicle her semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain. Yes I am thrilled that she embraced the idea of blogging and yes, I am jealous as hell.
She is funny (not just because I am her mom, she really is), and she already gave me a shout out in her first post. Since she has sufficiently sucked up – and because I am her mom – I thought that it was my duty to give her some link love. You can find her at Jaña en España (cute, right?).
Hop on over and show her some love.
Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.