Adjusting expectations

[what i had for breakfast today: pan-fried jasmine rice with sauteed beet greens and fresh egg] 


So we had a fun-filled morning planned--going go the garden store to check out bare-root stock on Superbowl Sunday has become tradition for our family, because it's the least crowded day there of the entire bare-root season (um, in case you didn't already know, we are dorks). Kamal woke us up at FIVE. AM. and I got up almost cheerfully because of how much I look forward to this day. The possibility! The sheer number of varieties of mulberries, sour cherries, peaches. The frantic surreptitious Googling on our  phones of the that one variety of blood orange that we've never heard of but looks so beautiful in the picture on the tab. The pollination question. And just last year, Kamal's little voice squeaking in, every time we read a fruit name aloud: "I yike dat one!"

So I was fixing breakfast for Kamal, all expectant and happy, when Adam found out he has to go in to the office.

And I was so bummed. I knew Adam didn't want to go in either, and I was bummed for him. But mostly, selfishly, I was bummed for me, for what felt like a huge letdown of my glowy expectations.

I dealt with it. I sat down with my coffee and breakfast, next to my charming son, and then read him a book, let him play a quick counting game on my tablet while I got in a few minutes of writing (he rested his little hand on my wrist the whole time and nodded emphatically when I mused, "We're both working really hard, aren't we?"), got him dressed, brought him outside, played a little baseball with him, and transplanted, with his help, a bunch of echinachea seedlings in the greenhouse. In other words, we had a great time. Then Adam came home from work, we were all happy, Kamal asked for a banana, and as he started in on one, it broke in half--and he cried. So hard.

He wanted a new banana, but I couldn't justify it. Not just because of the relatively enormous carbon footprint of a banana purchased and consumed in Northern California, but because it's important that he learn to deal with things not going as planned. 

And I realized his disappointment and mine were not very different at all. We both had an expectation of an experience; we both had to cope with those experiences being different from out expectations. And two incredibly sweet things came from that broken banana--one, he cried himself into a nice, deep nap in my arms, where he lay flushed and dreaming for two solid hours, and two, when he woke up, Adam presented him with a banana-and-clementine fruit salad, which he ate with relish while reading a favorite book.



As for me and my shifted expectations, my lesson is learned. Kamal and I had a beautiful morning, and we all made it to the garden store fifteen minutes before they closed. And then we went home and shoveled compost, which is one of my favorite gardening tasks (again: dork).  And theb we cleaned up and grabbed dinner at a familiar and beloved restaurant. 

And at the garden store, we did all the same things we always do-- "Did you know there's such a thing as a weeping mulberry? That sounds pretty," and "Smith Blood Valencia orange. Wait, is that a blood or a Valencia orange, then? Will it fruit in winter or in the spring? Quick, let's Google it!" and "I yike apricots! I yike plums!"

And then, as we do every year, we decided we needed to go home and do more research before choosing trees. We'll do some of it this year, and forget some of it entirely, or get caught up on other stuff. I know this because it's what we do every year. But if we actually figured out exactly which trees we wanted and bought them all, how will we justify having this wonderful day next Superbowl Sunday, and the next, and the next?


Cleaned up from our day of gardening and tree shopping and ready to go out to dinner