I left for work this morning a few minutes late. I'd taken extra time getting ready...picked a non-mumu outfit, actually DID my hair instead of throwing it on the top of my head like a raven's nest, and even applied some makeup. Baller status. By the time I got in the car I was at least 20 minutes behind schedule, but I didn't care. Today was my last day of work. I would never need to make the commute again. Ever.
I sang with the radio the whole way there. I'm sure my fellow 5AM commuters were disgusted with me. My face was lit up like a Christmas tree. It was glorious.
Got to work and took care of a few last-minute items....and then my fellow coworkers started arriving.
This, my dear readers, is when the party began.
The glory of all glories.
I ate, I laughed, and I cried. I felt the love so strongly I thought I might burst. It was, to say the least, incredible.
And then I came home. I practically flew out of the car, eager to show my husband all the wonderful food I brought home and hilarious, thoughtful gifts I received. I couldn't wait to grab my baby, lift her up, and say "I'm with you now, my love. Mommy's with you now." I knew my big girl would run up and give me a huge hug, my husband would kiss my nose, it was gonna be like heaven.
I opened the door and was greeted with the same pile of shoes (how long have those been there now?), the same dog freaking out and stepping on my toes, the same little one scrambling to dodge said dog, who scrambled around like a crazy beast and bumped into her seventeen times, making her head smack on the corner of the table. Chairs were randomly everywhere, the countertop covered in clutter, the husband calling to me from over a stove, and my big girl nowhere to be found.
"Where's Anya?" I asked.
"Outside playing with the neighbors."
"But I didn't see her....and the neighbor's garage is shut...." I replied, shuffling my feet and trying not to drop an immense amount of stuff on the dog/cat/kid.
The little one didn't want her dinner. Pasta. It was everywhere...in her hair, all over the table, and because I'd just brought my new stuff in the house and didn't have room to put it on the counter, all over my stuff, too.
"NO, Annabelle!" Sad, mopey face from my little girl.
Ok, no kid love. Whatevs. I start to show the husband my stuff. He says he likes it, tells me it's so awesome and he is so glad I had a good day. Then he got up to clear the table and started talking about how he needs to mow the lawn in the back. Well that was quick, I thought. Great Jen, awesome story! Now about that lawn....
No. No, I tell myself I'm being crazy, he's not dismissing how awesome I feel right now. How about I suggest doing something fun together, move past those negative feelings!
"Let's go for a walk together, want to?" I say.
"Whatever you want," says the man.
"Uggggh I don't feel like it," says the big girl.
"Go for walk go for walk???" repeats the little one. Then she starts crying immediately because we aren't instantaneously, at that very second, on a walk.
I get her down from her high chair and sigh, loudly. Well geeze, I think. I sure am glad I left a killer party at work to come home to all this awesomeness.
My husband picks up on my shift in attitude and asks me what's wrong. I try to explain I'm a little disappointed....meaning I started speaking in tongues.
"I didn't expect a huge cake or a surprise party with strippers and champagne, but I certainly wasn't expecting a missing kid hunt when I first got home, or a spaghetti-hating demon screaming at the top of her lungs, or a husband who was more interested in talking about the lawn than my last day of work!" All while yelling, too. Jen strikes again! Sad, mopey face from husband.
A fight immediately ensued, followed by me storming out, followed by me sitting in my car at a forest preserve with no shoes on, wearing a ratty pair of too-short shorts that say "DANCE!" on the butt....which is where I still am now, typing this very post into an app on my phone. Damn you auto correct. Damn you to swell.
I realize now, as I sit and watch the super tall grass in front of me wave around and whisper, "be cool," over and over again....I set myself up for this.
I had these expectations, you see. I thought because I was having a "special day," life as I knew it would cease to exist. The clouds would part and the perfection of my workday joy would rain down on me at home, too. I didn't tell my husband I wanted to make this a special night. I assumed he would know. I assumed he would make it special if he wanted to. I assumed. I expected. I deemed myself worthy of that kind of mind-reading...that kind of perfection. And I let my family pay the price.
If I had taken two seconds to look around and stop thinking of myself, I might've seen some of the things my family did do to show me love.
The dishes were done. Kids fed. Animals fed. Laundry done. Beds made. Everyone smiled when they saw me, everyone hugged me. Even the missing kid, when she returned of course.
Everyone was safe. Everyone was alive and healthy.
Everyone except me, Jen, the New Stay at Home Mom with Great Expectations.
Who do I think I am? Yes, my coworkers rocked my life and threw me the best party in the world. Yes, I gorged myself on every food imaginable and was showered with gifts and love and hugs and all the good things ever. But when did that generosity change in my head and warp into some greedy, self-indulgent sense of expectation? Couldn't my amazing day be enough? Why did my brain demand more, more, more....from two half-people and a man who couldn't possibly of known what I wanted?
Let's hear it, people....how many of you walk into your home and are greeted with balloons and presents, food, notes of love, and people asking you a million questions about YOU....? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
I better get it together if I want to be happy doing the least-acknowledged job on the planet. I mean really, I wanted the party to continue, and because I couldn't see past myself, my party came to a screeching halt.
Sometimes you gotta lose yourself in a forest preserve to snap yourself out of....well......yourself.
So here's to being a new Stay at Home Mom. Here's to my hubby getting a kick ass job. But most importantly, here's to the people who make the mistake of thinking their own desires, beliefs, and expectations are more important than the feelings of others. It's ok. We all do it. Try, try again. The next hour of your life is what YOU make of it. I'm going to go home and apologize to my loves, shower them with kisses, and try, try again.
Welcome to an exciting, but humble, new chapter in the Flaws Forgiven story. Happy to have you guys with me. Thanks for reading.