Disappointments

My college age daughter recently had a major disappointment–the details aren’t important–and I thought the house was going to fall down from the tornado of feelings she poured forth. The great thing about her is we always know what she’s feeling; nothing gets bottled up, and we treasure the communication we have with her. Still, it’s hard to see her in pain, and my husband and I reacted by trying to soothe her. We came up with many positive aspects to the situation, tried to distract her, and even played for her Eric Idle’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.  In the end I went to bed in frustration and my husband just cuddled her. In a day or two the storm passed, she accepted her new reality, and the house didn’t collapse.

About that time a friend and mentor of mine posted on Facebook that she had been terribly disappointed in something she had pursued in her career and was upset with herself for being so upset. A long thread ensued in which most of her friends told her to go ahead and wallow in her feelings. Wisdom kicked in–didn’t my daughter have the same right? Perhaps the better soundtrack for disappointments is Rosey Greer singing “It’s All Right to Cry”.

And then it was my turn.  Two days before we were to take my daughter to college in San Diego and fly out of LA to Peru with another couple, a picture appeared on Facebook of my friend being loaded into an ambulance for what turned out to be two broken ribs and a collapsed lung.  He would be unable to fly or travel to high altitudes for at least eight weeks. Peru was abruptly rescheduled for January to give him plenty of time to heal.

At first we didn’t have time to wallow. We had to change reservations, invoke our travel insurance, dump the contents of our suitcases, and repack for a five day trip to Southern California instead of 3 weeks in the Andes. But as we enjoyed a leisurely trip with extra days in San Diego and a visit with our son, who cycled down the coast from LA to join us, we began to make a mental list of all the reasons January will be a better time to visit Peru. I have new music students I felt uneasy about leaving, and my husband has complications at work that should be cleared up by then.  I’ll have time to lose 20 pounds I don’t want to drag up Machu Picchu and learn more Spanish. October is beautiful in Sacramento; January is not; we’ll hit rainy weather in Peru, but better there than here. In the yearly cycle of my energy and emotions, fall is the time when I dig into my life with renewed energy; January is typically my time to withdraw from responsibilities and hibernate.

The best thi;ng so far about postponing our trip is that we both had our schedules cleared here for nearly four weeks. We can be selective about what we add back in since we discovered that people can manage without us for awhile.

So I guess I’m more Eric Idle than Rosey Greer. And when we do get to go to Peru with our friends, we’ll appreciate every moment with them. Because that’s what it’s all about.

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