Yesterday was my birthday, and I have a lot to be thankful for.
You see, I come into the day with expectations:
That Hubby and others would forget my birthday. They didn't! I was so blessed by their love!
That the two youngest kids would remember my birthday. And because birthdays and holidays set off all kinds of pretty bad behaviors in kids with past trauma, birthdays have been some of the worst days of the year. We've had meltdowns, anger, the whole works. It doesn't matter if it's one of their own birthdays or someone else's. The overstimulation, change of schedule, and focus on someone else, or a focus on them, is just too much.
That I would be able to relax and have a day off! Haha! Now that's an unrealistic expectation, don't you think? That was not going to happen, but I did have a good day!
Why did I have a good day?
Because I didn't change the schedule too much for the little ones. We did school. I took care of the puppy for Ms. D in the morning so that she could get enough sleep. I let her sleep in a little so she wouldn't be grumpy and out of sorts. We had a "normal" day.
Because I found a friend's post about a drivers license picture that reminded me that my license was expiring on my birthday. The DMV closed at 5:00. I saw the post at 4:15, put on a little makeup and brushed my hair, got to the DMV just before 4:30 (we live less than a mile away), was able to borrow a pen from another lady in line so I could fill out the form, and I was out the door with a temporary license by 4:45. I'm hoping my picture turned out OK! We'll see in a couple of weeks.
Because I chose our local Chinese restaurant to have my birthday dinner. We ate at the scheduled time, 5:30. Mr. I ordered Mongolian Beef and orange soda, and Ms. D ordered Chicken Chow Fun and root beer. We had the same waitress, sat at the same table, and the kids sat at their usual chairs.
Grandson came over the second day in a row! I always love to spend time with him!
I had an awesome birthday gift from God. Ms. D told me about the sunset when I was busy doing something in the kitchen. She knows what I like. So I had a God painted sunset to enjoy on my birthday!
Because my family really blessed me, but gave me gifts at different times of the day. I don't know if anyone noticed it, but opening presents as they come works so much better with the little kids than having a special opening gifts time. Why? Because things in little doses spread throughout the day, even good things, aren't as overwhelming. I got an awesome card from one son and his family with some of the first artwork my grandson has made! One of my daughters gave me chocolates from Powell's Sweet Shoppe. The s'more was so delicious! I had it for a snack this morning. But I'll be good and have just one a day! I hope I can restrain myself! Another daughter is taking Mr. I and me to a Giants game next week. I love baseball and I've never been to a major league game before. So this will be such a treat! I will be going out with another son and his wife this evening. My sister sent a pocket planner with Van Gogh paintings throughout and a really cute card with a saxophone on it. People sent kind wishes on the computer from all parts of the country.
I am so blessed!
We all have expectations.
We actually need expectations to make it through the day. I expect that the automatic door at the library will open so I don't run into it. I expect cars to drive on the right side of the road. I expect that the electricity will work when it's time to make dinner. I expect that gravity will work, that the police will keep things safe, that maps are correct, and that stores will be open.
Some expectations are realistic and some are not. It is not realistic for me to expect my little ones, who have FASD, RAD, PTSD, MR, past trauma, etc. to behave like my older kids when they were the same age. I can expect them to be growing in their behavior and attitudes, but I can't expect the same emotional, social, mental, and even spiritual level of maturity. When I do have unrealistic expectations, I get frustrated, the kids get frustrated, and everyone has a bad time. I find I constantly have to adjust expectations in the face of reality. To keep myself sane, I need to look not on the disappointments, unmet expectations, and my or other's shortcomings. But I need to focus on the good things, the growth, the blessings, and most of all on love.
I am loved. My kids are loved. You are loved.
That is the biggest realistic expectation.