Thursday, September 27, 2012

Eternal Optimism

Somewhere back in Junior High or High School my best friend dubbed me an "eternal optimist." She said, "You always expect the absolute best out of everything, and that's why you're so disappointed when things don't turn out as they should."

There have been numerous times throughout my life that I have realized how true her statement was. And just tonight, I found it yet again.

For at least 18 months I had been thinking how fun it would be to plan a date night for Andrew and I and not let him know about it. I would just whisk the kiddos off somewhere and be all ready for a fun night on the town when he arrived home. How surprised he would be that the kids weren't here! How delighted he would be that we had the evening to ourselves! How awesome of a time we would have!

Yeah... well... it didn't exactly pan out the way I had hoped. This morning I realized that because of our schedules, this evening could actually maybe work for this plan I had plotted for 2 years. So I called our neighbors who owed us a baby sitter trade and started considering how awesome it would be if I could get the whole house clean as part of the surprise. About 15 minutes after securing the babysitter, Andrew called to tell me he had a late meeting at work. Then he called back to tell me he wanted to run an errand after that and the kids and I should meet him. OH SHEESH! So I sort of ruined the surprise by saying "Wait... kids with us or without... I COULD get a babysitter.."

Anyhoo... after lots of hem-hawing I finally had to tell him I already HAD a babysitter and that I was a little bummed that our special date night was going to turn into yet another "errand running excursion." As the afternoon wore on, the house did NOT get clean, the boys were being bananas and I was pretty sure I should just cancel the babysitter.

It ended up that Andrew did not need to run the errand, so he only had the meeting that would keep him a little late, so I decided I would take the kids over anyways. So for the next 30 minutes I scrambled to spic and span the house and myself so I could still SORT OF surprise him.

And here's where the disappointment part comes in. First, Andrew's meeting ends up going like 45 minutes longer than usual, which left me kidless and waiting for my husband in a very quiet house FOREVER. (Normally a quiet house is a really really nice blessing... but today the silence just annoyed me.) And then, when he finally called to tell me his meeting was over, I was totally not nice on the phone having been so annoyed that half of surprise date was being used up by a dumb meeting.

To top it off, when my dear husband finally gets home and walks in the door, he did not react with the "Oh Wow! You and the House Look Great!" that my eternal-optimist-self was expecting. It was more of a blank stare and a "are we doing something tonight?" look. Good grief!

I'm happy to report that after a good cry (on my part) and a bit of apologizing (on Andrew's part) that the rest of date night was sensational. It included one of the best dinners I've ever tasted at my favorite restaurant and some laughter and fun and ice cream to boot. But, seriously, I'm starting to believe I should just take my husband's advice and have low expectations of everything. Then, more often than not, I'd be delighted when things weren't as awful as I expected them to be. Could I ever really live like that though?


  1. I would have cried too....and I sometimes have the same problem - it's not really expecting the best from everything, it's anticipating the reaction you THINK you're going to have (ie. the movie-rendition playing in your head of the romantic moment, etc.). And that so rarely comes true....
    I'm glad you and Andrew had fun - where is your favorite restaurant?

  2. Maybe the good cry had more to do with all the hustle-bustle of getting things done and then waiting. Waiting gives us too much time to think! Then, by the time he was home (and didn't notice all the hustle-bustle-ing that you did), it was time for crying. I'll bet that it had more to do with the preparation than the reaction you got (or didn't get).
    In the end, you had a lovely evening with your husband and bonded. And, you'll have something to smile about later when you realize that it wasn't that big of a deal after all - that, in the end, the time together was more important than the rest.
    You could never be a person with low expectations. And, would you want to be anyway? To me, people with low expectations have them because they don't expect that much from themselves, let alone others. Having high expectations means that you care about yourself, your husband, your children, etc. Nothing wrong with that!!