.The holiday season has got me thinking about wants and expectations.
Pablo had a wonderful Christmas, and was quite showered with gifts. It was his first “aware” Christmas, he knew about Santa Claus coming and bringing gifts. And I have been debating for some time about what I want to tell him about gifts and Santa Claus, because I would like him to enjoy thinking of and making gifts to others too. And I would like him to recognize how thoughtful others have been to him. And yet, I would like him to experience Christmas as a child, with all the magic of Santa, Rudolph, stockings and the whole bit.
Entitled people I’ve encountered in my life have never seemed grateful to me. If we expect something, feel entitled to receive it as a matter of normality, then I suppose there’s nothing to be grateful for. And if for whatever reason, we don’t get what we expect, it can go one of two ways: we blame others, or we blame ourselves.
Yet again, life isn’t that simple.
Kind of like, wanting with a grain of salt.
Wanting is less closed-minded than expecting. It seems easier to let go of wants than of expectations. Wants come and go. But our expectations are ingrained in our brains, they are that picture in our head, by which we measure success or failure. If our reality of the moment matches that picture, we have succeeded. If not, we have failed. But that is such a construct of our mind, far removed from real life, right here and right now. I am starting to think that succeeding is letting go of that picture, those expectations. And failing, is to never see beyond the expectations, and missing out on the many awesome unknowns and unsuspecteds life has in store for us.
So I’m learning to maintain a clear boundary between what I want and what I expect. Some things are better wanted than expected.
I guess that’s what I want Pablo to feel when “Santa” brings gifts to him. To want them, but not expect them. I would like him to want to receive gifts, sure. But only to expect giving them.
How does one teach that? How does one learn it?
Perhaps this is one of those things children learn by osmosis, if their models clearly make the difference in their life. I’m hoping to teach him this as I go, by keeping that boundary in my awareness as an individual and as a parent.
As I have previously reflected, I found the kitchen to be one excellent place to learn, and teach this. Take these cookies for example. They were not what I expected. The thin tollhouse type chocolate chip cookies. But I guess in the end, I just wanted them to be good. And when a cookie expert friend of mine came over, and had 4 in a row in spite of his wonderful usual will power, I figured they were good.
Hazelnut chocolate chip cookies
Makes about 20 cookies
Prep time: 15 mn
Cook time: 15 mn + cool off time
Age for babies: After 12 months, in very small quantity as a treat. (I didn’t give Pablo chocolate until after 16 months.)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup hazelnut butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven at 375°F.
Line a large cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper.
Beat the butter, sugar and brown sugar together until creamy. Add the egg & vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Add the hazelnut butter and beat until combined.
Add flour, baking powder and salt, and stir to combine. Add chocolate chips and stir again.
Drop small spoonfuls of dough onto the parchment. Bake 12-15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest on the sheet for 1 minute, before removing. Let cool on a rack, and keep in a tin box if possible.