Great Expectations – and the Disappointment that Follows

I had a conversation with my daughter last night that is going to stay with me for a very long time. I wanted to share it with you all. First, I just want to say that, as a mother, I have spent the last 5 or 6 years of my life filled to the brim with “Mommy Guilt.” It is something I have had to work very hard to overcome. I spent the first couple of years in recovery worrying about how losing important time with my child was going to impact her later in life. I was convinced I had somehow tarnished her legacy just by being her mother. Over time, I have learned to forgive myself for my past mistakes, and it turns out I’ve been teaching my daughter some valuable lessons along the way without even realizing it! Things like honesty, acceptance, faith, hope and perseverance – never giving up! No matter what!

-Last night-

My daughter didn’t pass to the next level in swimming lessons tonight. She was sure that she would. She was prepared. She felt confident. She believed in herself. She EXPECTED to pass.

Sigh…expectations are the worst! No matter what age you are.

I tried to prepare her for the unexpected – because my life is littered with unexpected disappointments. And lately, I’ve been feeling disappointed in myself – about where I am in life. I EXPECTED to be more successful by now, to have my finances in order, and at the very least, a clean and organized house! But alas…I do not. Bleh!

I told my daughter that no matter what happened I was proud of her.

“Mom, you don’t think I will pass?”

“I absolutely think you can do it! You have improved so much and I am so proud, but remember we are not in control of what happens, and we have to respect your instructors decision. I just want you to know I am proud of you.”

And I am proud of her! I was smiling the entire time she was taking her test, because she did so well! She is tenacious, and as she swam towards her goal, I caught a glimpse of the strong character that will carry her through life.

When she was told by her instructor that she didn’t pass, she looked at me stunned. I was a little stunned too, but I understood. She is still little, and she struggles to keep her endurance while swimming across the entire pool, but she always pushes herself to keep going. She never gives up.

In that moment when our eyes met, I knew what was coming, because I have done it many times before. She politely thanked her instructor, turned her back to walk away, and I saw her shoulders start to gently shake as she began to cry.

I quickly caught up to her, put my arm around her, and told her it would be ok. It felt so surreal, because 90 minutes prior to that we were high-fiving each other and posting her fantastic report card on our refrigerator.

I let her cry in the locker room for a little bit. I told her life just stinks sometimes, and we have to walk through the pain. I told her she would wake up tomorrow and feel a little bit better. And the next day she would feel even better than that.

We walked silently to the car holding hands. We got in and I started the car, and she said, “Mom. I decided I’m not giving up! Because I love swimming, and you always tell me I should only do something if I enjoy it.”

I smiled, “That’s right!”

“And besides, you never gave up.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“When you were sick. You never gave up. And ever since you came home you have always told me that we should never give up. You say it a lot actually… It’s a little annoying!”

I laughed and said, “I love you so much!”

“I love you too, Mom.”

A few moments later, I heard her speak from the backseat.

“I’m sorry I said you were annoying.”

I met her eyes in the rearview mirror, gave her a little wink and said, “It’s ok. I am a little annoying.”

“Can you make me noodles when we get home?”

She’s going to be just fine. 🤩 She also reminded me that I am going to be fine too, and that I should be proud of myself, as well.





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