A couple of weeks ago, my piece We’re Expecting! No One Cares was featured on Mamapedia. I was saddened by how many other mothers have experienced the “Meh” reaction to their pregnancies, but I was more emotional about the comments that said I shouldn’t expect others to be excited just because I was.
This isn’t about pregnancy. I understand that, for a variety of reasons, the announcement of an impending poop machine isn’t always met with graciousness or an open heart.
This is about people who believe we should not expect anything but the status quo from our loved ones. They say we are wrong to expect those closest to us to react with happiness just because we are happy. That our sorrow should not beget another’s sorrow. Because I believe that is all horse dung, I was told I have unrealistic expectations; I am selfish and unfair.
It is one thing to always lean on people who consistently let us down. It’s the ol’ “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” adage. If a person is reliably unreliable, why do we hold on to the hope that some day she will change?
Some of us are hopeless romantics, I guess. Extreme optimists.
But I’m not talking about those kinds of people.
I am talking about relationships in general. Is it wrong to expect things from others?
There is a fabric of individuals woven into our lives; it consists of grandparents, friends, aunts, uncles, teachers, and neighbors. Be they blood or be they our own discovery, these people are a part of us. Maybe only for a school year, maybe for life. Either way, there is a mutual respect and understanding and general expectation that goes hand-in-hand with that relationship. To those who say we shouldn’t anticipate our very best friends delighting in something monumental in our lives, I say to them: unacceptable. In fact, if I’m tinkling myself excited over a new pair of boots or losing six pounds, then I should be able to expect my pals to be tinkling right along with me. And just for the record, my girls are the best; when I tinkle, they tinkle.
Why? Because I do it for them.
Why? Because I love them.
Also? It’s called reciprocity.
There’s a word you don’t hear much about these days; some of us call it Karma. Others call it a healthy relationship. You get out of life what you put into it and I’ll be damned if I am going to lower my standards and just go through the motions. We’ve all had our ups and downs, but the purest kind of love is in the proof that the relationship we share is a priority. Together, we have value.
I give my best to the people who matter most to me, and I absolutely expect the same in return.
Maybe that does make me selfish. Unfair. And whatever else you want to call me, but I can tell you this for certain: because I am not afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve, I lead a much fuller life than someone who holds back. Great risk yields great reward.
Sure, I get burned sometimes. There have been a handful of people who haven’t met me halfway and yes, I’ve learned the hard way. Some of those people were easy to remove from my life. Others? Not so much. But I don’t see the point in having half-assed relationships, of not committing myself entirely. If it’s not the best, why bother?