Saturday, October 2, 2010

TO DO: Stop With the Clark W. Griswold-Like Expectations

My husband finds my occasional grandiose and unrealistic expectations (or as he likes to call it, my "Clark W. Griswold Syndrome") both humorous and frustrating. I can't blame him, so do I. If you don't know Clark W. Griswold, you should. Check out Chevy Chase's character in Christmas Vacation and the original National Lampoon's Vacation. I think you can do without watching the rest.

I suppose it does happen to me more than I’d like to admit. Take yesterday afternoon for example. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon. The weather was perfect, and I'd called my husband to try to sell him on changing our evening plans. I didn’t want to waste the fantastic fall day with him going home to mow and my daughter and me grocery shopping. He agreed that we would meet at home, change clothes, let our dog out and then go for an early dinner and to choose a few pumpkins. It was October 1 after all.

Smiling from ear to ear, I pulled into my daughter's school eager to get my hands on my sweet girl and already coming up with some good, kid-friendly patio options. I quickly realized that she had some evening plans of her own and was not at all interested in anything other than going and staying home. Perfect. I'd already imagined her running around the pumpkins and selecting a few to sit proudly on our front porch and await being carved in the next few weeks. I could also throw out my visions of a wonderful salad topped with a piece of perfectly grilled salmon, some great bread with butter and a nice glass of wine.

My husband came home and tried to salvage the beginning of the weekend. By then, his two girls were not in the best of moods. (I'll save you the specifics.) Our changed plans ended up being a productive evening of cleaning the house while our daughter watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (I will admit a little anxiety when I realized my loving husband had purchased the Choo Choo Express episode from iTunes while I had secretly been counting down the days for that one to be removed from On Demand.) We ate pizza, and I at least I did have vino, even if it did have to come from the box in my own kitchen.

Other examples of my Clark W. Griswold-like behavior include when I decided she and I would bake and decorate cupcakes. She’s not even two years old yet so the kitchen and both of us ended up covered in the batter, the icing and sprinkles. Or when I bought the huge 32 count sidewalk chalk and imagined our beautiful driveway art. She made one, two-inch mark and was finished but somehow managed to have it all over herself. There was also the time I couldn't resist the overpriced, but precious and washable stuffed lovie, even after my daughter showed no interest whatsoever.

I agree that it's something I need to work on. I think I'll be fine until December when it'll be time to "[kick] off our fun old fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols."

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