Monday, post-Thanksgiving, was a hard day for me and the boys. They were tired. My patience was lacking. By dinner when they were complaining about the food, fighting & whining…”put a fork in me I was done”!

They kept making requests and I was running late to leave for my Momheart group. As I attempted to walk out the door my eldest asked, “Where are you going?”. In my head was the ironic answer, “To go talk with other moms about being grateful” (discussing Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts”?).

My heart was not grateful. I was frustrated, tired and overwhelmed. Then add on all the expectations of what a family dinner should look like: boys smacking their lips in satisfaction from the food I had planned, shopped for and prepared; meaningful conversation about our days; loving and encouraging words spoken to one another.

photo credit

I arrived at my mentor’s, Leslie‘s, house discouraged and beat down. I shared how frustrated I had been at dinner. She spoke wisdom (remember she is the one with the 4 Eagle Scouts):

“Heather, I still feel that way. Even though we have many great conversations, my high school & college boys sometimes make rude comments at dinner. They purposefully put food on the edge of the table for the dog to come eat. Then mimic what I will say in response, ‘a fed dog is a dead dog’. My husband looks at me as I’m frustrated and says, ‘It’s okay honey. This is life.'”

This is life.

I can’t wait for the perfect dinner. The perfect kids. The perfect life.

 This my life. This is it. The good. The bad. The blessings. The challenges.

From the chapter in “One Thousand Gifts” we were discussing that night, I read “expectations kill relationships.”

I expect so much from myself. From my boys. From our life.

What would happen if I would let go of my expectations and embrace that “this is life”?

In this season, in the chaos, in the demands, in the fighting…this is life.

If I count my blessings. If I focus on what’s right and minimize what’s wrong, I realize…this is a wonderful life!

What expectations are you clinging to in your family relationships? What behaviors in your kids rob your joy? What would happen if we could rise above the expectations, accept that this is life and enjoy it for what it is?

“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. ” Ecclesiastes 3:12-14

Here is a little clip of  our wonderful “life”: