The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is filled with many things. Decorating. Baking. Hustle and bustle. Gift-giving. Merry-making. And great expectations. Somehow it seems that even with carefully laid plans, with well thought out activities, expectations can still get violated, often resulting in hurt feelings, irritated family members, and other ill effects.
I found myself having to learn that lesson again this weekend. Somehow someone snuck teenagers into my house (well, actually we only have one teenager, but another one thinks she is). And someone neglected to mention to me that certain activities might not hold as great of an appeal to teenagers as it did just a year or two ago. Despite my perfectly outlined list of advent activities, which I know will occasionally change depending other things that might happen on any given day, when some activities are mentioned, a few faces in this house lack the anticipatory delight I wish to see there. And there go those expectations again.
Usually they come around, but sometimes they might not. Or sometimes, like this evening, they might come up with an even better, more seasonally appropriate, more kind-hearted idea than I ever thought possible. And then I am reminded that my joy needs to rely less on great expectations of how I think things should be and more in the act of providing them a home where they are free to share their own expectations.
About 2 months ago, Elizabeth told me that I didn't need to make her a birthday sweater this year. I told her that was fine, but inside I was more than a little deflated. My expectation of lovingly making her another sweater, knitted stitch by stitch with my hopes, dreams, and wishes for her, was crushed with a mere afterthought sentence she handed down. But to her it is just a sweater, and she's not overly fond of sweaters anyway. Fortunately she still enjoys knit hats and socks that I can pour my loving thoughts into, but it really doesn't matter. Those wishes, hopes, and dreams are poured forth whether I ever knit her another item again. And I can, and should, find joy in simply sharing them without any expectations attached to a hand-knit sweater.