We all know that disappointment is part of life.
But explaining disappointment to a four year old is a bit different than understanding it as an adult.
I’m not sure if it’s experiencing years worth of broken promises and empty words from people who weren’t supposed to let me down. Or if it’s from a series of unfortunate incident’s growing up…or just a characteristic that I was born with…but I’m able to deal with things not working out.
Some people would call me pessimistic, but I’m convinced that I’m more of a realist. While I don’t want bad things or unfortunate things to happen, I’m one of those “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst” kind of people. I don’t like being let down. I don’t like to get my hopes up too high only to have them trampled on. I don’t like to build up a person, circumstance or situation and then it not work out like it’s supposed to.
So I’m reserved. I try not to dream or plan or hope for anything too far fetched for fear that it won’t work out. That way, when and if it does, it’s a pleasant and unanticipated surprise. And if it doesn’t, I never got my hopes up to begin with.
This week, Noah had to experience his first real disappointment in life.
For several, several weeks now, we’ve been planning for and anticipating my moms arrival. Her plane ticket was purchased months ago and we’ve been ticking down the days until she was set to arrive tomorrow. We made a fun little countdown chain and part of our bedtime routine was to remove another link and count the new number of days until Gran Gran got to visit.
We haven’t seen our families in almost two years. When we said goodbye at Cracker Barrel in January 2011, we knew we’d be saying goodbye for a while. And so far, no ones made it out to visit yet. So we were all excited and anticipating her arrival after going so long without seeing any family.
Being on your own 5,600+ miles away from any family is hard. Throw in the fact that we’re on an island, so the only way back to the mainland is via plane or ferry, and you can understand that any visits from those we love and care about are highly anticipated.
So, imagine all of our disappointment when a 6:00 am phone call yesterday morning dashed that excitement. Because Gran Gran isn’t coming tomorrow.
My heart absolutely broke for my biggest boy. Sunday night he was walking around in his Spiderman pajamas, holding up two fingers and squealing with excitement that his Gran Gran was coming in “just two more days!”
Me? I was bummed, but not overly surprised. Like I said, I don’t build myself up to anything. Because life happens and things don’t work out. So mom can’t make it when we originally planned. It sucks, but it’s no shock. Shake it off, let it roll off my back and move on.
But Noah? He’d been looking forward to her arrival for weeks. And I knew that telling him that shewasn’t coming was going to be a problem. He was going to be crushed.
And as I expected, when we broke the news, he was.
He cried. He asked several, several times why she wasn’t coming…why she couldn’t make it like we talked about….why we said she was coming when she wasn’t.
Lots of questions that my answers didn’t seem good enough for.
So, I was stuck between a rock and hard place. Trying to figure out how to handle his little broken heart.
Do I teach him to be excited and build up moments in life to be these spectacular, all you want and hope that they’ll be, events? Or do I teach him that life isn’t fair and that, more often than not, things don’t work out?
How do you handle disappointing situations with your children?
In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious, these photos have nothing to do with this post. Linking up with Shell @ Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out.