The Gingerbread train… Expectations? Not so much.

October 24, 2009 | Categrory: celebrations, kids and deployment, parenting


I am actively in the mode to pull off this German Christamas before our son leaves for his three years in Germany. I think that his children (Devon age 7 and Landen age 5) will learn where Daddy is going ,and make a few memories while he is home. Today I found a recipe for a gingerbread train! I’m sure it will be lots of work on my part. The kids are too young to go in for all the cooking, but I plan to let them help make the dough, help roll it out. I will cut the shapes and get them in the oven. I think I will have to assemble the train, then they can do the decorating! I am hoping that I can accomplish this, and that it won’t be like so many things are…you know…you have a great vision in your mind, then it looks absolutely nothing like you thought it would.

This brings me to the topic of expectations. How many times do expectations ruin the joy of something? Like when you look at a travel brochure and the beach looks endless and the pool huge , then you get there and the beach is 8 feet wide and the pool has skimmers floating on it? Well, if you just say “whatever we see I will enjoy”, you hardly notice the skimmers!

In military life, the lesson is:have few if any, expectations. This is a lesson the rest of the world needs to heed as well. To be truthful, letting expectations slide by the wayside, equals a happier and more adventous life!

Here are some questions to ask yourself . What am I expecting, and how will I feel if things turn out to be different ? Am I living in a constant state of dissapointment? Do I feel that no one around me cares much about how I want things to be? Do you ever hear yourself say things (to yourself or others) like,…when I get a better job….when I lose 10 pounds…when my husband gets back from deployment… when my kids are older…when I  move to a bigger house…. then things will be better!? (yep, I’m raising my hand too!)

If you hear these in your self talk, you are living in the expectations, not in the life you have. Teaching ourselves to have thankful hearts , teaches our kids to have them as well. Things are never perfect this side of Glory, but there is still much to enjoy! Children pick up the attitudes of the adults around them. Husbands and wives feel tension from each other even when it is not spoken. It is tiresome to be around someone who is chronically unhappy. As I tell my kids…happiness is a choice. Circumstances are not always easy, but we either choose to have unrealistic expectations, or to let go , and find the good in what is.

Realistic expectations will go a long way in keeping relationships functioning well. As a good friend of mine once said: ” It would be futile and foolish to expect an elephant to fly. We might be able to teach him to flap his big ears but we will be disappointed when he can’t lift off”.

Sure hope this Christmas thing turns out well… but if not, we will have been together!
Here is the link for the gingerbread train…in case you want to join the fun!