In my case, I dreamed of fostering the “perfect” home environment. I was a fan of the 70s television show The Waltons, and I considered them the quintessential family.
Sure, they had their differences. Often the siblings would argue, or the parents would face tough financial times during the Great Depression.
But invariably all conflict resolved within an hour, and the show concluded with the entire clan gathered around the family dinner table. This scene always pictured enough to eat, pleasant conversation, plenty of laughter, and the undeniable feeling of perfect love and acceptance.
This was my goal. To establish a family dinner table that not only nourished the body but also the soul.
I wanted my children to look forward to holiday meals where we could reminisce fond memories and create new ones. I longed for meaningful conversation that would extend long after the meal was complete.
Imagine my devastation when my youngest reminisced about her childhood, “It wasn’t a family dinner unless someone left the table crying.”
I was crushed. Not because of what she said, but because what she said was true.
Although we began with good intentions, sometimes our hearts and mouths did not properly connect. Conversation was often an emotional reaction rather than a thoughtful response.
Sarcasm created confusion rather than fostering understanding, and what was meant as gentle teasing pressed on raw nerves, causing unintentional pain.
The discouraging truth crushed my dream of ever creating the close-knit family I desired.
As I learned that expectations are not synonymous with hope, I realized I was looking for something that could never exist. I based my expectations on a fictitious outcome.
Expectations rely on pre-determined outcomes.
Hope relies on Christ.
As much as I love my family, I know Christ loves them more. As much as I want us to accept one another for who we are, I know Christ desires that even more.
I am now working to align my desires with God’s plan. While it is difficult to release the long-established false expectation of a happy family, I trust God to work all things for the good.
©2015 Molly Totoro
Molly Totoro is a writer and a recently retired English teacher who has a heart and passion for authentic living. She firmly believes “Everyone has a story to share” and is currently establishing a ministry, Milestone Memoirs, where she helps others discover and write their stories to impact future generations. Molly shares the importance of leaving a legacy at Stepping Stones Publications, and she frequently blogs at My Cozy Book Nook.