Yesterday after picking up Monkey from school, I had to pick up paper from the store for the MOPS newsletter that I create every month and run it over to my girlfriends house because she graciously prints them for us for free.

I got the store, only to realize that the paper reams are very large and heavy.  I print everything on 11 x 17 paper, and last time it was purchased I wasn’t there so I had no idea it was so heavy!  I was holding Caterpillar because he isn’t walking yet and I left Monkey in the aisle to go find a cart because I could not carry Caterpillar, 2 reams of heavy paper, my purse and Monkey’s hand in order to make the trip back across the icy parking lot.  As I stepped away, Monkey didn’t hear me say I was going to grab a cart, so she was still trying to grab the paper, and started crying because it was so heavy and she thought I left her there.  I came back with my basket because I could not find a cart at the front of the store, only to realize the paper was too large for the basket.  After struggling some more, I finally shoved it in as best as I could and slid the basket on the floor over to the register, ignoring the stares from all of the employees in the empty store.

I get up to the register, wait for the cashier to finish her gossip session with her co-worker and finally pay for my paper and start to head out.  At that point, the girl standing with the cashier makes a comment about how big the paper is and how she saw Monkey couldn’t even lift it.  I almost lost it.  Seriously?  You SAW my four year old struggling to the point of tears and didn’t offer to help her carry it?  Merry Christmas to you too.  I smiled, thanked her and left.

By the time we made our trek to the car I was almost in tears from anger.  What the heck is wrong with people?  Not only is it kind and decent to help people when they are struggling, but it’s your job as a customer service rep!  After I got home, I realized that disappointment is often our own fault.  Our initial expectation is what sets the wheels in motion.  Without expectation, there can be no disappointment.  So, perhaps I should just learn to accept less and be satisfied.

Today, I had the final blow with my mom.  It’s been a long time coming and the other shoe was bound to drop.  However, after she hung up on me and I sat in prayer I realized that it’s not her – it’s me!  I have expectations for people.  And clearly those expectations are too high.  All of these years, in my mind I have been focusing on trying to maintain a relationship in an effort to maintain honor.  What I now realize, is that in that effort, I was dishonoring her.  I was trying to preserve what we once had, instead of accepting that what we had is no longer.

I thought if I was patient, and gave things time, she would return to the loving mother I once knew.  The one I grew up with.  The one that was my girl scout mother, head of the PTO and the funniest and kindest person I knew.  The one that wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she thought was right, and when it came to her kids that was everything we did.  She was someone that took things in stride, and kept fighting.

However, in my effort to hang on to that person, I have only disappointed myself and her.  She’s not that woman anymore.  She has unfairly had to endure more in the last 10 years than most people do in a lifetime.  And she’s angry.  She’s bitter.  She’s not a fighter any more.

While I do understand how she got there, I don’t want the recent memories to replace my old ones.  I don’t want to see 25 years worth of her love and hard work torn down and forgotten.  And, by continuing to be in a relationship with her, that is what is happening.

So, for now, I am going to continue to pray.  I am going to give us time apart.  I am going to remember and cherish the older thoughts and I will let my kids be a part of the childhood memories so they will also love their grandma and all of the life she shared.   All of the things that made me love her, and all of the reasons why I refuse to accept less.