Expectations are premeditated disappointments.

I stopped in my tracks the first time I heard this. Whoa. Let me think about this a minute. Four words. Wow. I could chalk up most of the disappointments in my life to just four words. I expected a lot – especially during the holidays. I expected my (now ex-) husband to read my mind and know what I wanted under the tree. I expected him to behave like those guys in the sappy diamond commercials.

I expected myself to be calm and happy and look swell in a apron as I opened the oven door and pulled out a tray of sugar cookies that I would decorate with a frosting gun and cleverly display on plates that I would lovingly give to my friends and neighbors, who had already received my Christmas card: “How does she do it?” they would ask. I expected myself to do all this while still working 40 hours a week, going to the gym and doing the laundry.

Most of all, I expected YOU to appreciate every damn sprinkle on every damn cookie, every freakin’ ornament I strategically placed on every freakin’ bough of that tree, every bow I tied, candle I lit and stocking I hung. ¬†Dammit. Genuflect before me, St. Christine, martyr of working moms during the holiday season.

Expectations are premeditated disappointments.

No sh#!%t.

No Christmas cards this year. I will buy cookies at the store. I will happily sit and watch my daughter and her boyfriend decorate the tree without advice from me on proper light and ornament placement. I won’t expect a little turquoise box from my husband because there is no husband, no more.

Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Is it wrong for me to expect at least one present under the tree with my name on it? Is it wrong for me to expect you to acknowledge my hard work? Am I a bad person to expect someone, somewhere to remember that I also have a birthday a few days before Baby Jesus’ birthday?

There has to be a line somewhere between my dignity and my becoming a doormat, right? I get very confused about this during the holidays. This confusion ties my feelings into knots. And I have learned through many, many hours of therapy, that as the feelings goeth, thus goeth the brain chemistry.  And upon ye shall come a horrible, dark depression.

So, I need a little help here. Can anyone see the line between my dignity and doormat? If you can, could you throw a few hundred of those blinking LED lights on it so I don’t miss it?