I shared a meal with some of my closest girlfriends tonight, and they remarked how much they'd liked a recent post of mine, especially the part about accepting that I am not a Meltzer. This appreciation in no way reflected on their feelings for my family, whom they love. It was just that they 'got it'. I had to tell them that my dear husband had been hurt by that post, and my explanation to him next morning may have been clumsy.
Gail Brenner expressed it so much better here. "If you want to be disappointed or frustrated, just expect someone to do or say something, and wait for the fallout. It will come." I have found myself disappointed and frustrated over and over again, not because I am just so different from my new family, but because of the expectations I have held. Expectations that they would learn to love and appreciate the foods and activities I enjoy. That they would adopt my attitudes and values and spending habits. That Josh would share my parenting style, and back me up more. Because, obviously, I am right. Yeah. Right. Since when did I become ruler of the world, and get to dictate that everyone has to be like me?
As Brenner says, "Align yourself with reality. You can’t control what other people say or do. You can’t foretell the future. Stay open and accepting to things as they are." In other words: "This is the way it is. Roll with it."
When I'm upset or mad at someone, when I'm disappointed or frustrated that others aren't acting the way I want them to, I need to keep asking myself, as I did that night, "What am I afraid of?" It's harder to ask that, and listen for the answer, than it is to rail against the world.
But this year, I'm all about the listening. I'll be sharing some of what I hear.
P.S. And then I read this.