Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Hot Chocolate was Not All That

Not every day is a great day. Not every emotion we have feels great and anticipated experiences can be a let down, when our expectations are high and the reality doesn't seem to rise to it. We sometimes set ourselves up for disappointment by building something up too much in our minds. This is a basic lesson, I know, but I was reminded of it again this morning by my 7-year-old son.

He was excited by the prospect of hot chocolate for breakfast. His eyes lit up when I said yes to his request, and off he ran to prepare it himself. He measured the powder and stirred the concoction with the focus of a scientist, eager, yet steady. He cooled it down with a splash of milk and sipped carefully at his creation. Eyes bright, he nodded with approval and sat down at the table. A few more careful sips changed his contenance. With each slurp, he lost a little more of that triumphant glow, until he finally put down the mug and stood up.  He furrowed his brow with the air of a globally renowned researcher who was about to make an important announcement..

"This is too sweet for breakfast. My stomach doesn't like it." He looked at me with mild confusion.  "Do I have to finish it?"

Hmmm. There are so many things I could say about the lessons to be learned, but I'll keep it simple. We expect certain experiences to bring us joy or satisfaction and when we get what we think we want and the good feeling is short lived, we're puzzled. Maybe my 92-year-old grandmother was passed all that, but I guess I'm not. I've realized that, on occasion, I still expect some event or new object to bring me satisfaction. Its kind of silly, but I catch myself doing it way more than I'd like to admit. And when the thing or event isn't "all-that", I feel the disappointment.  Sigh.

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