What’d ya expect?

Levi had an eye appointment yesterday. This doctor has been behind schedule every time we’ve ever been there. Like way behind. (The worst time, we were there for almost three hours for a five-minute eye exam. I had Elias with me too. I won’t lie; I was thisclose to losing it that time.) It’s been a little better lately.

Here’s a conversation I had with a friend while we were waiting.

This is an ongoing joke. It started last February, I think, when our family was getting ready to leave for Florida.

“Are you SO EXCITED?!?” my friend asked.

“Sure,” I said, and she looked at me a little funny.

“Well, aren’t you going to have SO MUCH FUN?!?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “It’ll be fine,” and she looked at me a lot funny.

A discussion ensued. How could I not be looking forward to, madly anticipating, dying for my vacation? It was madness.

Weeeeeeeell … here’s the thing, I said. This is not an all-inclusive couples trip to a beachfront hut in Tahiti. We’re going to see Grandma in Florida. Which is great! But the children are going with us. They need things, like, allllll the time. We aren’t driving, which is a mercy, but airports are not without their frustrations. It’ll be good. It’ll be … fine.

She accused me of having really low expectations.

Maybe, I said. But someone’s going to vomit, and there are going to be a couple of lack-of-sleep meltdowns (if we’re lucky, it’ll be the kids), there’s likely to be a delayed flight, and certainly I’m going to have to say no a lot whether I’m in Ohio or Florida, because I don’t magically stop being a parent when I cross a state line. So if I pump myself up for a glorious beachfront Tahiti experience and somebody pukes on me, then all of the sudden I’m having the worst vacation ever.

There was kind of a long pause, during which I wondered if maybe she was going to write me off entirely.

I’m not saying it’ll be BAD, I hastened to add. I’m looking forward to it. I just don’t think it’ll be, you know, transcendent. 

She finally decided I wasn’t entirely stupid.

Maybe I am. I can argue the other side. Sometimes the anticipation is most of the fun. Why ruin that?

It works for me, though. I anticipate what I think will actually happen, maybe with a little side of pessimism. If I’m wrong, I get to be pleasantly surprised.

The only real downside is that, having used it as the panacea for so long, I can never go on that all-inclusive couples trip to a beachfront hut in Tahiti. I have no idea how I’d manage expectations for that. Although if Paul and I went off by ourselves for a week and were in one another’s company 24/7, I’d find something to be annoyed about. He probably would, too, though he’d never say so. We’d still be ourselves, after all.

So probably we can go. We just have to find someone to pay for it.

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