Tuesday, April 10, 2007


When are your expectations too high?

When are they too low?

We’re going to Florida over the weekend. I was expecting Jeanine to be able to hang out while she was there- “hang out” is code word for no work.

She is not going to be able to do that.

That’s not necessarily bad- it’s more about my expectations.

Do I expect too much?

She told me tonight, I will never work the way you want me to. I will always work a lot; I will always have a schedule that fits me, not you.

Mind you, I am a very scheduled person. When the kids were little, I was the Sleep Nazi. My kids slept. They took naps when it was naptime and they went to bed when it was bedtime and nothing got in the way.

Everything ran on a schedule and I was not flexible. Not even a little. I believed, and still do, that kids need structure. As they grow older? Sure, there is room for late nights for special occasions. No one needs to nap anymore so the daily activities do not need to grind to a halt.

But they did before.

And I hear that Jeanine is telling me, I will not work on your schedule.

I know she loves her work. I know she is passionate about her art. I would not ask her to give that up for one minute.

Well, unless it was a minute that I wanted her attention. Then I expect her to give it up.

Is that asking too much?

I said, I want to be second on your list of priorities. The kids can be first.

It’s never going to happen, she said.

My brilliant idea from the other day? To get a workspace for Jeanine that was out of the house, close to the city. So we all could have a little bit of city life, and still live in Newton.

It was brilliant.

It’s not going to work.

Why? Because my ultimate goal was to get Jeanine to leave work at work.

And be home when she was home.

I understand that will never happen.

Maybe my expectations are too high.

I don’t think so. I think they need to be negotiated.

Because historically? My expectations have been way too low. I never felt like I deserved very much. I was not a worthy person; I was someone who was there to serve someone else’s needs. Never my own.

And I didn’t do that very well, either.

But you know? I think we can figure this out. Because we love each other. Sure, we drive each other crazy but I think we’re finding ways to be gentle, thoughtful and open. Jeanine has worked hard to be present. I have worked hard at being kind with my words, to not respond from the corner I feel backed into.

Let’s keep thinking creatively, I said at the end. Who knows how we will figure this out.

Deep down? Screw expectations.

I want her to come to Florida and not work.


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