Typically, my expectations of others are low. It’s easier for me to expect less; I’m disappointed less often that way.
Recently we’ve been absolutely BLESSED with the kindness of others when Chris had surgery to replace his weary knee. Because of my seizure disorder, I do not drive. Offers for rides to the hospital and later to the rehab facility were abundant. Every morning my phone rang with someone new asking … Did I need to go get groceries? Did I need a ride to the post office? Any prescriptions I needed? How was I getting out to see Chris that day? Was I interested in going out for lunch? Were my library books due back?
I learned how to say “yes”, which is not as easy as it may seem. I hate to impose on others, but I found that, as I like doing for others, others liked doing for me. And I enjoyed those glasses of wine with Mary Ellen, catching up with news of Janet’s grandchildren and her new camp, breakfast with Vince and listening to him read his latest work, eating Josh’s peanut butter cookies, visiting with Mark and Alice, running errands with Kathy, hearing Tim telling me what Rupert did when he spent the night with McKinley, laughing with Sharon about how well we make lemonade out of the lemons life hands us, venting with Denise and running into all our neighbors when I was walking Rupert who asked about Chris and offered rides or whatever. And then there are my many Internet friends who sent wishes and kept me company when I couldn’t sleep, and my musician friends who soothes me with their tunes. My son and his oldest daughter supported me via text messages, as is their way.
BUT….you must have known there was a ‘but’ coming…..surrounded by such support I allowed my expectation to be raised and to include everyone around us to treat us as we would treat them in a similar situation. We are truly blessed to have friends we treasure and family we love. This includes my mother-in-law. My husband is an only child. We have taken ‘Mom’ on two cruises (we paid)….including our honeymoon cruise….and on several vacations to Manhattan and other places. When she had surgery a couple of years ago, we took very good care of her….we wanted to do so, no questions asked, we took time off from our jobs and did this willingly and lovingly. Not because it was expected of us, but because we wanted to.
She did take us to the hospital the day of his surgery and did drive me back and forth the three days he was in the hospital. She also took Rupert for me the first day Chris was in rehab so I could spend the day there with him. I won’t say she made this easy in any way; she has a way of letting you know that it is an inconvenience for her (she wanted to be mowing her lawn instead one day).
Chris was told he was going to be released on a Friday and wanted her to take him home. (Don’t we all want our mothers when we’re not feeling well? Even I want my mother when I’m not feeling well, and believe me, she was a piece of work even when she was sober!) The MIL lives five minutes from the rehab facility. We had planned to have her pick him up, call me when they got close to home so I could take the dog for a walk, they could get Chris settled in at home and then I could bring Rupert in and he could get all excited about his favorite toy’s return home after two weeks away without any worry about Rupert knocking Chris down or jumping up on him. The MIL agreed. Then the release day was moved up a day early. When I called her to tell her this, she said she was “too busy” to do it that day.
“Too busy” really meant that she had an appointment three hours later than the time he was being released. It would have taken her twenty minutes to drive him from the rehab facility to our place, then another half hour at the most to drive back home. So we were asking her for an hour of her time at the most. Why did she need three hours before her appointment? She needed to make sure she had enough time to do her hair and makeup.
The truth is, she was “annoyed” (I could use other words here) that we had friends who helped us out…..and we were able to call one of those friends (thanks, Tim!) who brought Chris home last Thursday. Yesterday, Chris called her to let her know he was doing OK. She made a comment about wondering why he hadn’t called her sooner. Good thing I wasn’t the one on the phone as I might have said, “Phone lines work both ways.” And then in the course of their conversation she tells Chris that his aunt died while he was in the hospital, but she “didn’t want to bother him with the news then.” She hasn’t spoken to this sister in twenty years or so, but Chris and I have seen her and we would have liked to have known. I would expect a mother to act differently.
There I go again…..raising my expectations.