Here's something you should know about me - I have unrealistic expectations - for everything. It's a big fault of mine. I am an all or nothing girl. Go big or go home. Do it well or forget about doing it at all. I make everything a huge project and go over-the-top in trying to make things special. I look forward to summer all year long, and I plan and organize and make lists and imagine in my head creative, fun, and perfect activities for the whole summer. And in my head everything is so smooth and lovely and seamless. This summer, I need to be extra creative, because Jim does not have a job, I do not have a job, and we do not have money to spend on a ton of activities.
But I still set the bar high and my expectations still were through the roof.
Typically my expectations are ridiculous and are filled with statements like this summer we are going to wake up every single morning at 6:00 and exercise as a family, and then enjoy green smoothies. The children will participate in chores and some educational activities during the morning hours while I tidy the house and do laundry. We will go to the library every single week, and we will surprise the children with fun, crazy adventures. We will be known as the crazy, cool parents, and we will have a water balloon fight every night, and the house will never get wet or messy. We will go for a family walk every single evening, sit on on our porch and sip lemon-aid and snuggle on a blanket watching the stars come out.
Every single is where I get derailed, because usually after about three days of trying to live up to my ludicrous expectations, I have thrown the towel in, and it's a free-for-all that looks nothing like my perfectly laid plans. I know that this is the pattern, and yet I planned out a bucket list again for the summer (I did plan this before Jim lost his job, so some of it is really quite ridiculous now).
I woke up tentatively excited this morning, for our first day of summer break. Let's just say that it did not meet my expectations. (Big surprise) My Jamesy has pica disorder - it is common in children with Autism. It is becoming more pronounced lately, as well as his compulsions. I am not sure if this is because of all of the changes in our life or not related at all. There is no way to know. Regardless, this morning alone, Jamesy had taken large bites out of Jim's deodorant, eaten an entire bar of soap, and then managed to find a vial of Betadine, and possibly ingested that as well. That one warranted a call to poison control. (He is fine.) I am just emotionally spent and physically exhausted (Jamesy is also only sleeping a few hours a night - thanks again to Autism.) So my excitement for the summer was waning on day number one by 1:30 in the afternoon.
As I was upstairs making tabouli for dinner tonight (and perhaps sobbing to God to please find a way for me to get a little break), Habi, who is sensitive and intuitive to my feelings and moods was downstairs putting Jamesy to nap. Only I did not know that. When I went downstairs, ready to put Jamesy down myself, I found this, and my heart melted.
We managed to still have fun today. I saw smiles on all four of my children's faces. We enjoyed the sun warm on our faces. My kiddos got dirty and stinky - a sure sign that fun was had. Habi and I worked together on some ESL/phonics work, and all-in-all we survived the first day of summer. And that, regardless of a silly bucket list is enough.
My expectations were not met, and they never will be, because this is our one, messy, beautiful life, and it is REAL and not scripted - as much as I try to make it so. Taking a deep breath and embracing it all. We only have one here and now.