When I was a child, perhaps about 7 or 8, I attended my first "grown up" event. My grandmother was turning 60 and we were invited to her birthday dinner. I remember getting dressed up and being in awe of her birthday cake that was covered in pipe cleaner bees.
At the birthday party at the "fancy hotel" (which I later learned was the Holiday Inn) I met a myriad of new relatives. During a conversation with an adult cousin, I thought I hit the jackpot. He promised a teddy bear larger than me was going to be delivered to my house when I got home. I remember skipping over to my Mom, who promptly told me that he was teasing and that I shouldn't expect a package.
I didn't believe her. After all, who promises a child a ginormous teddy bear with no expectation of actually following through? In my child mind, it didn't make sense. I waited for weeks for my bear to be delivered. It never arrived.
My cousin, I discovered, was a schmoozer. He is a very nice man but I have never fully trusted him. After all, you can't completely trust somebody who promises a toy to a child but never sends it.
Over the years, I have learned to identify schmoozers for what they are- primarily insecure individuals. In the moment when the promise is spoken I believe that they feel a sense of gratification while they soak up the "thank yous" and the "that's so kind, how thoughtful" compliments.
I no longer believe that schmoozers are malicious. They are merely thoughtless and insensitive to the ramifications of their inaction and false promises. I no longer hold expectations that pledges will be honored by those who have demonstrated these habits in the past.
While I have learned to protect myself from disappointment, I find it heartbreaking when my little boy is let down. He, like I was, is naive about the schmoozer. When somebody promises him something, he fully expects that it will happen. I don't want to diminish his youthful optimism, but I find myself wanting to protect him from the disappointment of being let down.
I never anticipated that being a mom would be so emotionally draining. I know that I can't protect Robby forever, but I'm going to try. He is going to have enough interaction with schmoozers when he is an adult; he doesn't need to be let down when he is five! So, in fair warning, please know that this Momom will come out swinging. Beware if you lie to Robby: you might just discover a rusty fishing hook on your chair when you sit down!