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A Trivial Trio of Expectations

This Christmas, I had many expectations. As you can tell from my last post, some things have happened this season that have totally exceeded my expectations. And those were the things that mattered most.

But today I’m choosing to let go of other, more trivial expectations- three, to be exact. None of the three looked anything like I had envisioned, and each was a notch worse than the last.

The first expectation was The Great Petak Family Nutcracker Outing of 2012. As we drove to the theatre, I was starry-eyed. My sister and I loved going to the ballet when we were children, and I dreamed of passing along the tradition…to my four boys.

I thought my husband seemed a little nervous. Maybe my first clue was that he made the boys all wear their camo. Not to worry. Within the first ten minutes, the 5-year old asked, “When are they gonna stop dancing?,” the 3-year old wondered, “Why is it so loud?” and the 8- year old was curious, “Why aren’t they talking?” And yet, the 42-year old next to me still griped, “Why can’t the guys wear shorts over their tights?”

Nevertheless, we survived the show without too many dirty looks from distracting the people around us. However, the dirty look was on its way. In the lobby.

We took our family photo by the Nutcracker statue (obviously I was kidding about the camo) and tried not to sweat it that one boy was doing fishlips. After all, it’s Christmas. We have to let go of certain expectations and just enjoy each other, right?

nutcracker photo

And then we stopped at the Nutcracker merchandise table. Oodles of ornaments, mouse king figurines and nutcrackers whispered temptations to my children to accost them and bring them home. Little sets of fingers seemed to multiply.

I grabbed one set of 5 fingers off the sword-wielding mouse king, but another two sets appeared at the other end of the table, chomping the mouth of a black-haired nutcracker. I lunged for those, but another set was already on a porcelain ornament. “All Petak boys step back from the table!” I barked.

I still thought it would be fun to remember the event, and so I purchased a small tree ornament, hoping it would also serve to pocket curious boy-hands. But then one set of fingers thought the ornament with the drum on it would have been a better choice and another set of fingers wanted the ornament with the sword. Reach. Tussle. Drop. Smash! Oops.

And then the dirty look descended. Her eyes narrowed from behind the table, “Do you want both ornaments now?” I mustered the few wits of patience I had left, “No, I will trade you the lovely unbroken one I just purchased for this broken one.”

I plan to glue the pieces back together and hang it on our tree, just to memorialize our Nutcracker experience. And then every year I can reminisce.

Undoubtedly, we will also reminisce the second dashed expectation, the Great Petak Family Lighting Excursion of 2012.  That night, my husband handed each of the boys a special ticket he had printed for “The Minivan Express,” and they all clambered into their booster seats in their jammies.

However, after listening to our boys sing many rounds of the version of Deck the Halls they learned at school (“Deck the halls with poison ivy, fa la la la la la la la la, tis the season to be naughty, fa la la la la la la la la) and visiting two houses (count them- TWO) on the tour map, our 5-year old informed us he was ready to go home.

Hoping to stall his wish, we turned into a Starbucks to drink hot chocolate.  It was to no avail.  He planted himself under the table and bawled his eyes out.

As we made our graceful exit, we felt it necessary to apologize to the entire gathering of Starbucks guests for disturbing their Silent Night.  In situations like that, one either gets really mad, or laughs.  And Brian and I decided to laugh (quietly) all the way home to light the advent candle of JOY.

The third expectation was dashed this morning as my children dressed themselves to head to church for the Christmas service. I had pictured them in their nice khakis, sweaters, and church shoes, and us walking into church looking like the picturesque family that we are (not).

And then I saw the outfit my 3-year old, Justin, had chosen.  Enough said.

justin christmas outfit

Merry Christmas!

2 thoughts on “A Trivial Trio of Expectations”

  1. This is priceless! We went to see the Nutcracker this weekend too. If it makes you feel better we got some of the same responses from our girls. 🙂 Merry Christmas my sweet friend!

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