5 Nov
2013
Posted in: parenting
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Dealing with Disappointment

I’m a planner, researcher and organizer. I need to know what time we leave, where to park and where to meet. Each night before bed, I scrutinize the next day’s schedule. My game plan for the day is set before I fall asleep. Rarely does the day go as planned. I’ve learned to roll with the detours through the years. Today my 11-year-old had a school field trip we were both looking forward to. Instead we worked on dealing with disappointment.

Ideas to InspireOur oldest son, B, woke up vomiting this morning, the morning of the highly-anticipated field trip and the day he should have been earning his Aquanaut Activity Badge with his Webelo Cub Scouts den. At 6:45 a.m. it was clear neither of those things were happening today. Today we were homebound. On top of vomit, B was dealing with disappointment. The poor guy was teary-eyed when he realized he wasn’t going anywhere today. “I really wanted to go,” and “they’re going to have so much fun” were B’s mantra while I fed his siblings. Truthfully, I was just as disgruntled that some germ was ruining not just my son’s day but mine too.

We should have been making wooden box drums with his class for an on-going project his class is part of called Ideas to Inspire. They’ll be using the boxes in a song writing assignment with Inda Eaton and Jeffrey Smith. This is the second year B and his classmates have worked closely with Inda and Jeffrey. They’re energetic, spontaneous and the kids love them, which means I adore them. Ideas to Inspire is a collaboration of several entities and is innovative teaching at its finest. Last year, as a 4th grader, B’s class helped write a song, made didgeridoos, played those instruments, recorded the song and painted a mural while learning about Australian Aborigines. I was at their first performance of it. The song makes my heart leap every time I hear it. None of that was in my 4th grade curriculum.

DidgeridoosYep….disappointed for sure. Those big life lessons I want my children to learn always end up taught on their own schedule. I didn’t look at my calendar last night and think I should teach about dealing with disappointment. One of the reasons parenting is difficult is because things just get thrown at parents. We have to be prepared for everything and anything on any given day. No wonder we’re tired. Vigilance is exhausting.

We talked about heavy hearts today as his friends would be doing something he was eager to be part of, but we also talked about upcoming things to look ahead to. There was also much talk about how “horrifying” it would have been to vomit at school. B agreed it was much better the way it worked out. Teachable life moments throw me for a curve because I never feel prepared for how to handle them. I’d much rather have time to think over a lesson plan and photocopy worksheets for discussion.  I do a lot of quick prayers asking for the correct wording so I don’t mess things up and then have to fix that.

I know dealing with a disappointed 11-year-old boy is much easier than dealing with an 18-year-old man who is used to things always going his way. I shared times I’ve been disappointed and showing that moms are human always helps conversations along. I struggle with my emotions. I didn’t learn as a child how to master my emotions and not allow them to eat me alive. Being a feeler isn’t a bad thing, but it can, at times, paralyze me. I want my children to embrace how they feel and then move along. It’s the moving on part that still troubles me.

We shook off the disappointment today and enjoyed a forced day at home, as much as you can enjoy it when vomit is involved.

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