"Hey, boo, How did this weekend turn out? Did you have fun
with your Aunty?" I asked my 12-year-old son after he bragged about being able
to play a song on the piano by ear.
"Oh. No. We didn't go. She said she wasn't feeling well so
we stayed at home with Daddy."
I gulped and asked, "What did you end up doing?"
"Oh, we had pizza, made popcorn and watched movies."
"And you're OK?"
"Yes, ma'am. We had fun."
I exhaled, tears forming at the corner of my eye. Although
this seems like a perfectly normal conversation, the truth is my sons have a problem
with not getting what they want. This was the first demonstration that
things had changed.
Life can be disappointing on so many levels, and our reactions to these disappointments can make or break our futures.
Like most of us adults, children develop this expectation
about the way things should be, especially if adults make promises that we can't
keep for whatever reason. I often worried about their ability to handle life's
disappointments because I had received many late night phone calls from my sons
in tears because daddy said they had to choose between a Halloween party and an
expensive field trip, or they were promised they could go to the movies but
their daddy didn't take them because their room wasn't clean. Life can be
disappointing on so many levels, and our reactions to these disappointments can
make or break our futures.
On this day and every day afterward, when I speak to my sons
and their expectations were not met or plans were delayed or adjusted, they
seem to be handling it more maturely.
"It's OK, mommy. Things happen," my son said. "We will
have a good time anyway."
After years of drilling into them that no matter what the
circumstance is they can turn it around to benefit them with a bit of
creativity, they finally got it! I am so excited about this growth because if
they carry this trait with them for the rest of their lives they won't
experience the misery that so many of us experience when life doesn't bend to
My boys, now 10 and 12, are growing up, and it is
evident by their behavior. There is honestly no greater joy than knowing they
have mastered what I believe is the biggest life lesson of all.