We love all of the thoughtful and humorous and vulnerable quotes you shared with us last week (here’s looking at you, @knickschick7). Thank you!
All that quote love led us straight into managing expectations - a super light topic. Because why would we go home, when we can go big?
A: i love the quotes
A: everyone is sending us
A: they make me smile
A: don’t try and win over the haters
A: you are not a jackass whisperer
A: come on, that’s funny (credit: JR)
L: turns out
L: we’re not the only ones obsessed with quotes
A: i’d say
L: i love the ones that i have to think about
L: that kinda have more than one meaning
L: like this one
L: one key to knowing joy is being easily pleased (credit: UL)
L: i can’t decide if that’s saying to expect less
L: or to have more things please you
L: like the little things
A: like shishito peppers?
A: but i think easily pleased
A: is the beautiful part
A: and the really hard part
L: i’d say
L: but you’re often easily pleased
A: until i’m not
A: i think you’re confusing easily pleased
A: with mismanaging expectations
A: like when u told me to go see parasite
A: bc it was the best movie of the year
A: and i should have been easily pleased
A: but i wasn’t
A: bc i didn’t manage my expectations
A: even tho the movie was brilliant
A: i went in expecting too much
A: i was bound to be disappointed
L: yeah, seems like that always happens with movies
L: and TV shows
L: and books
L: i think we could definitely learn to manage our expectations
L: about things like the movies
L: and this isn’t an every day one
L: but reminds me of when my kids and their friends were leaving for college
L: and everyone says to the soon-to-be college freshmen
L: ‘it’s the best 4 years of your life’
L: i mean
L: college was awesome
L: but how could something live up to that billing?
L: isn’t it just setting it up to be something less than?
A: i haven’t had a kid leave for college yet
A: and i loved college
A: so i never really thought about it like that
A: and i probably would’ve said the best 4 years of your life thing
A: i mean i definitely would have said that
A: but now i won’t
A: bc you’re so right
A: looking back i remember it as perfect
A: but of course it wasn’t always that way
Managing expectations. It’s a complex topic. When we started writing this post we thought it was something that we could, or maybe even should, apply to almost every aspect of our lives. But then we discussed it, ad nauseum, and came to realize that it’s complicated. Even more complicated than we thought. And here’s why.
While we can agree that it’s better to go to a new restaurant with realistic expectations, we still want to spend the day in anticipatory excitement.
While we can agree that it’s better to expect the morning car ride to school with our kids to be basically silent, we still want to hop in the car with some enthusiasm.
While we can agree that it’s better to lay off the excessive and undue academic pressure, we don’t want to lose the opportunity to encourage our kids to rise up and be better (a la My teacher thought I was smarter than I was, so I was).
While we can agree that it might feel better in the short term to avoid disappointment, we recognize there’s great value in sometimes being disappointed.
While we know that you can choose to under promise and over deliver or choose to hit it with rainbows and unicorns, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing or even the same thing every time. There’s gotta be a middle ground in there somewhere. A balance. Even if that balance is hard to find.
So, all this talk of managing expectations reminded us of something that happened over winter break.
Spoiler alert: expectations were shamelessly mismanaged.
L: just thinking
L: years ago i took my older kids to see Dear Evan Hansen
L: didn’t take charlie bc i thought he was too young for the theme
L: but seems so relevant now
L: should we take the little ones?
A: we should
A: i’ve seen it too
A: without kids
A: i think the boys can handle the heaviness
L: I think so too
A: i’m in
A: should we ask them if they wanna go or tell them they’re going?
L: let’s ask
4-way text (B = Ben, Angie’s 15 year old son; C = Charlie, Laura’s 15 year old son)
L: guys! let’s do something fun over break
L: was thinking we go to the city
L: maybe a show?
A: how about Dear Evan Hansen?
A: I think you guys will both really like it
(15 mins later)
L: us again
L: we’ll just pretend u didn’t see our last texts
L: so are u in?
A: and, um
A: we know you’re on your phones
A: your enthusiasm is overwhelming
Back to 2-way text
A: is this for real?
A: we’re taking them to a broadway show and they can barely respond?
L: are u really surprised?
A: i’m always surprised
A: u must know that by now
A: i always expect more
A: and i don’t care if i’m disappointed
A: i’m not lowering my expectations
L: ok ok
L: i’m not suggesting u lower your expectations
L: maybe just manage them
L: a little
L: bc we are taking two 15-year old boys to see a show
L: so we might
L: just might
L: need to manage some expectations
L: to know ahead of time that the post-game analysis may be lackluster
L: and it might help
L: knowing that we’ll get lots of one word answers
A: is that one word or two?
So, we buy four tickets and head to the Wednesday matinee of Dear Evan Hansen. And after our group text interaction, and subsequent follow up on the topic, you’d think we would have managed the hell out of our expectations. But, no. We didn’t. Well, Angie didn’t. And as it turns out, Laura didn’t either, even though she was a big talker ahead of time.
Car ride conversation into NYC
L: guys, u know what the play is about?
B & C: in unison: nope
A: might be a good idea to learn a little before we see it
A: why don’t u google it?
B & C in unison: nah
L: come on, google it and read us the synopsis
C: i’ll look it up, ben - you read it
B: it’s too long
A: ben, just read the first paragraph
B: Evan is a shy, timid high school senior. He has severe social anxiety that prevents him from forming friendships at school, talking to the delivery person, and driving a car. He sees a therapist and takes medication to manage his anxiety. He also writes letters to himself to sort out his feelings.
A: is that it?
B: i think that’s enough
C: yeah, i think that’s enough too
C: we don’t want to spoil it
L: of course we don’t
Pre-show conversation in NYC
C: we’re starving
B: yeah, can we eat?
So, we eat lunch. And then we eat cupcakes. And then we eat twizzlers and kit kats and popcorn. And then we eat pizza. And by we, we mean B & C.
B’s in a food coma. C’s also in a food coma. It’s a dream come true.
Car ride conversation home from NYC
L: well, what did u guys think?
C: it was really good
B: i really liked it
A: did u know that evan didn’t fall out of the tree?
L: that he was trying to hurt himself?
B: not really
L: did you have a favorite song?
C: i liked the one right before the intermission
A: you mean You Will Be Found?
C: yeah that one
B: i liked all of them
L: let’s listen to some of the music now!
B & C in unison: nah
So there you have it.
But here’s what these texts don’t tell you. Despite our lack of realistic mental prep and the weak post-game analysis and the food frenzy, underneath the boys were joyful and thankful. They liked how colorful the city was (their word, not ours). They told us what they want to be when they grow up (dog walkers & CIA agents, if you must know). They shared their tie-dye Baked by Melissa cupcakes with us.
2-way text later that night
L: i’m exhausted
A: but i loved today
L: me too
L: do u think they really liked the show?
A: no idea
A: but it doesn’t really matter
A: bc they’re going to remember today
L: of course you think they’re going to remember today :)
L: but really
L: even if they don’t remember today
L: we will