Today's prompt is: an expectation.
I thought about this prompt for a long time. Long enough that I said "expectation" over and over in my head and out loud until it was meaningless.
|"Fork, fork, fork, happy...fork"|
I've seen the quote below many, many times and it really describes the way I feel about my adulthood. When I was a kid/teenager I had certain ideas about how my life was going to turn out when I "grew up." (Still waiting for that to happen...)
If you know me, you know that I'm a planner. I had so many things figured out long before I needed to worry about them. Or I thought I did. Almost nothing has actually happened the way I planned. BUT -- there are very, very few things I would change about my life the way it is now. Sure I'd love to have more money and a bigger house; and sure I'd love to wear a bikini and skinny jeans from time to time...
But when I was a teenager, and thought about what my ideal life would be like -- who I would marry (that one actually did pan out), how many kids I would have, what our house would look like, and even what town we would live in -- I had no idea just how much my "ideal" outcome could change. And not necessarily because I made the decision to alter my plans.
|My Senior Homecoming|
When I first met Jerry I was 16. I was painfully naive and thought we would be together forever. I shaped my future around marrying him and having kids with him. Then we broke up. And I had no idea what to do. I spent about a year trying to get him to notice me thinking one day he'd just change his mind and decide he wanted to be with me again. Then I realized that was never going to happen and started trying to figure out who was going to fill that spot -- because at 18 I just had to figure out what my life was going to be like 20 years from then. WHY?
Finally, I threw up my hands and decided not to worry about it anymore and just try to enjoy life without planning every detail. I said, "self, you know what? Jerry is never going to want you back, but he will always be in your life [for the sake of time and less confusion, let's just say our families were linked..], so, self, just get over it and try to be friends with him." And the next time I saw him, at my cousin Carrie's funeral, I told myself that it was ok. It was like starting over; nothing else that had happened before mattered and we could just be friends.
WELL. Obviously that didn't work. Something was different and we were different and we just... knew that we were supposed to be together. There were still times in those early days of our new relationship that I was worried it wouldn't work out. But then at some point, I just realized that it wouldn't always be easy, but this was the person I was meant to share my life with and I just started trusting that we could make it through anything -- and so far, we have.
Then, a couple years after getting back together, he asked me to marry him and it was the easiest decision I ever made. I don't even think it was a decision -- it was just, yep let's make it legal; we already know we're going to be together forever. (Gag me with a spoon this is all so corny-sounding!)
Then we started talking about how many kids we were going to have and what our dog's name would be and where we were going to live... At one point, we were about 12 hours away from putting in an offer on a sweet little Cape Cod in my hometown and Jerry got laid off. We couldn't afford the house on my piddly little salary. There was no guarantee his job would start back up. He had to find work elsewhere. After about two years of him traveling for work (sometimes for a couple months at a time), we decided to move two hours away (closer to where he grew up) and buy a house there. I was just pregnant with Emily at the time.
I never planned to live two hours away from my entire family. It wouldn't have been my first choice. I expected to live in my hometown and have my kids go to the same schools I did, take dance lessons at the same place I did and know that place as their home, like I did for so long. It didn't work out that way. And while it still sucks that I'm not close enough to my parents and siblings and nieces and nephews to see them all the time, I have really come to love my new "home" -- not just the house, but the area and the people that surround us here.
We didn't have four kids like I always thought we would. We decided (Jerry way sooner than me) that we would stop at two. We knew that we wanted them to have everything we could possibly give them and never want for anything -- more kids would mean less money (and time) to spend on each one.
We have our two perfect girls and a sweet little home; one day we'll have a dog (though it may not be the chocolate lab I always wanted) and our life will be exactly the way it was meant to be -- but most likely not what we expected.