Disappointment History: For several months our daughter has eagerly awaited two terrific events, attending Long Island’s Hampton Classic Horse Show with her cousins this Sunday and the ASPCA Adoption Day also at the show starting Monday at the invitation of the Senior Director of Special Giving at the ASPCA, a super lady who was gifting our daughter an amazing adventure. Last year we attended the Hampton Show the weekend that Tropical Storm Earl came to the posh Hamptons community in his downgraded state of just rain, wind and waves. We loved the tropical breezes and the weird milky color of the frothy seas. This year, Hurricane Irene is hurling herself up the Coast this weekend and probably landing on the sands of southern Long Island in time to shatter both plans. Oy vey! In earlier years, when disappointment struck our daughter’s life, it was not unlike a Hurricane 3 or 4; the whole family felt the force of gale winds and raging waves of distress.
New Baby, Small Earthquake, Shampoo Quandary and Irene: I am not saying anything yet. We will head across the Sound on Friday, and wait and see. Meanwhile, a nephew had a baby on earthquake day in D.C. and our daughter is busy spending her residential day chores trying to decide what shampoo to buy at CVS. Two phone calls regarding this super urgent subject made me forget to share the news that “You have a new baby boy cousin.” That’s bigger than the earthquake, the hurricane and even the Horse Show. I guarantee that she will shriek with delight. She adores her handsome cousin and has been awaiting the news of his son’s appearance.
A Pragmatic Perspective: As for the possible disappointments on the horizon, the girl has changed. I use to tremble inside, literally tremble, when something she wanted wasn’t in the store, or the mailbox or a power outage interrupted a favorite show. And frankly I still do feel a slight queasiness at the prospect that one or both of the events will be cancelled. As I tell all my patients, the body remembers trauma, the heart, the mind, the senses, all remember trauma. And those emotional hurricanes of years gone by were traumatic for all of us. You could feel the tension mount as the storm was reaching landfall and I do not plan to relive those days again. Our daughter has developed frustration tolerance, greater foresight and personal pride, more language to articulate the feelings of disappointment and hopefully a pragmatic perspective that “we can’t always get what we want.”
Fingers’ Crossed those days are over.
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011