You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Disappointment is a shitty feeling. It means you wanted something and didn’t get it, that you let yourself hope and that hope wasn’t fulfilled, that you opened yourself up to possibility and got shut down.

I am disappointed today and it feels petty and first-world-problem-ish.

It started with gratitude for a chance to sleep in and a small boy who put his heart (and hands) on paper. My boys said, “This day is for you” and I felt special and loved. All I had was one simple wish: to have a nice day with my family.

I did my part. I played along when the small boy wanted to lead me downstairs with my eyes closed. I let him make my breakfast even though it took longer and I was afraid he was going to pour milk all over the floor. I listened and responded and hugged and did all the things good mothers are supposed to do. But for the majority of the day he was—to be frank—quite beastly, and I stopped being able to do those things.

Banff-Springs-HotelOur outing got rained on, which made it not worth what we had paid for it. We had dinner in a place that should have been lovely but was instead simply a spot to get some food in our tummies, taking bites in between admonishments to hold the cup with hands not teeth and to keep feet off the table, before getting back in the car and driving home well after bedtime.

Maybe the small boy was beastly because he was bored or excited or simply because he’s four. There is no way to force him to stop doing the things we ask him not to do, and we can’t duct tape him to the roof of the car.

In any case, I didn’t get my simple wish, and that’s disappointing.

And then there are two pieces I was hoping would be published and (so far) have not been. And a dear friend was left out of something and my heart hurts for her, especially because she gives so much to others.

I want to invite possibility and joy and wonder. I appreciate that beauty when it’s gifted to me, and I’ve had a lot of perfect days lately with sun, friends, food and family. Today just wasn’t one of those days.

But there are bigger problems in the world. I got what was important today – time and love and acknowledgement.

You can’t always get what you want, especially when you have a four-year-old. But I’m trying to remember that I’ve got what I need.



  1. “I want to invite possibility and joy and wonder.” <–beautiful and brilliant. So simple. Me too. xo

  2. Well said, my friend. Finding the balance between opening ourselves to “possibility and joy and wonder” and protecting ourselves from disappointment is not easy.

  3. I’m sorry you didn’t have a great day. Mother’s Day (any holiday really) with little kids is HARD because as much as you want the day to be about you, so much of it still has to be about them. xo

  4. I’ll just say this – I understand. Even if I wish I didn’t. I do. Far too well.

  5. You feel so much and so acutely, R. You are hurting for your friend even as you are swallowing your own disappointment. I’m so sorry that things are not going your way right now, and I’m here to listen.

  6. Small disappointments are, nonetheless, real disappointments. And they matter too. I am hoping for sun, validation, encouragement, repentance (HA! your son)
    :-) and just an overall cloud of love to surround you.

  7. Disappointments ruin my hair.
    I like my hair.
    Hugs, you do have all that you need. xo

  8. Disappointments, no matter how first world we may consider them, are still disappointments. It is, however, wonderful when we can see beyond the disappointment to all the other wonderful stuff we have. Happy belated Mother’s Day!

  9. Your post resonates with me because yesterday was similar around here. Cranky children can bring any celebratory feelings to a screeching halt. I hope things look up for you soon.

  10. I’ve been there, I understand, but I know it still sucks, even though I say that. xo

  11. I do this, I get in my head how I want a day to go and how I’m going to be and then when it starts falling apart so does my resolve to be patient with the situation. Sorry you ended up being disappointed.

    • I should know better by now, but we’ve had so many totally fantastic days lately that I was hoping this would be one of them. Ah well.

  12. I’m sorry, friend. I wish I had a magic wand and could make them all behave. Especially today–mine are setting a beastly record today.

    • And he’s been this way ever since. What’s with them? Don’t they know their mamas don’t like it?

  13. It is my experience that four year old boys really have a way of monopolizing the space. Sometimes it feels like they breathe in all the air and that there is none left for you. The lucky thing is it passes, and that they don’t stay four forever.

  14. So well written. I applaud you for being courageous enough to publish what most mommies think. I also felt disappointed by the hoopla of mothers day. I must have yelled at the boys several times and broken up a number of fights when all I wanted was ONE DAY to be about me! But this is what we signed up for as mums. When we had our babies, the selfish part of us went away, & even tough we want so badly to be selfish some days, we usually end up feeling guilty for the small amount of time we do spend exclusively on ourselves. So…I echo your closing line “I got what I need”…the loves of my life did the dishes without arguements, hubby showered the kids, bedtime was on time, we went out to dinner and I got to hear my 3 fav words ” I love you” multiple times! #winning

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