Last night we put up our Christmas tree. We typically spend the actual holiday with my parents and inlaws, so we haven’t had a huge tree or decorations at our own house for several years now. But my son is now four, and notices things like Christmas trees and decorations, and requested that we do something at our house this year.
So we got our tree out of the attic and put it up. It is a small tree – my spouse likes to call it the “Charlie Brown Tree” after the cartoon special with the tiny tree. I was worried that my son would be unhappy and disappointed in the tree and its lack of grandeur. But he was truly thrilled. I collected some bows and other festive odds and ends we had around the house to use as ornaments, and a string of green lights that was originally meant to be an outside Halloween decoration, and we livened up the little tree for display in our playroom.
And as I watched my son look upon the tree with delight, I realized that it was my own internal expectations of what I thought Christmas decorations and a tree should be that was shaping my expectation of my son’s reaction. I thought my son would be disappointed because I internally expect a Christmas tree to be a huge thing with tons of lights and fancy decorations. But my son has no such expectation. he probably will in the future, but for now, he is very happy to have what we have.
So, going forward, I am attempting to try and let go of my preconceived notions. A lot of what I think is normal or average or expected is based upon ideas I’ve picked up somewhere about how something should be. But it doesn’t have to be. Life can be what we make it, not what I expect it to be from the start. As long as I realize that my expectations are built from what I’ve observed instead of what I truly need.