Waiting for Normal

Hi! I'm Normal.

I work in a place that is significantly affected by our state’s economy.  With budget forecasts changing almost daily we are in a state of continually wrestling with financial shortfalls, service cuts, and painful choices.  Last week our president spoke to us about change, and while I don’t know whether the wisdom was “borrowed” or her own, I found myself reflecting on how applicable it was to parenthood.

I learned early on in my journey through motherhood that one should never say, “I’ve figured this out!  This is easy!” lest one jinx oneself.  You wake up the next morning with a new variable, a new tooth, a new character trait, a new nap schedule…a new something that proves you wrong pretty darn quickly.

That feeling of success – while so fleeting – was so satisfying & empowering that I found myself seriously crushed when it went away.  I couldn’t wait until I got things under control again.  You know, so we could get back to normal around our house.

Normal?  I don’t even know what “normal” I thought we needed to get back to, but I sure wanted to get there.  This certainly wasn’t normal, was it?  It was too unpredictable, too messy, too…real!

Back to the speech by our president:

We are in a period of unrelenting change.  If you can’t wait until we return to normal, let me tell you – it’s not going to happen.

Oh.  This pretty much sums up the last two years of my life, and how true it is!

Unrelenting change – when I accept that this is now my “normal,” it’s easier to go with the flow.  Really, I didn’t want to “get back” to anything.  There wasn’t a precedent to return to, and I certainly didn’t wish that Conlan hadn’t joined our family and it was just the two of us again. 

I was really chasing that feeling, that “this is what a happy, healthy family feels like.”  Or, frankly, the more damaging ideal of “this is what we’re supposed to be like if we are really a happy, healthy family like everyone else.”

So now, instead of feeling let down when I realize those sweet moments will never last 24/7 no matter how hard I try, I just enjoy them as they come along.  I know we get special time together every night at dinner – just the three of us, enjoying uninterrupted time around the table.  My heart swells during Conlan’s bedtime routine every night, when he gives me a giggly kiss through the crib rails and then flashes a sleepy smile as he lays his head down to drift off.

And those other moments – when my son laughs & feeds his noodles to the dog, spills his milk on the floor, or throws tantrums because I can’t find the right shoes – are still sweet.  And, yes, they are normal.

We are in a period of unrelenting change, and I will accept that as my normal and drink in the sweet moments.  I’m not going to waste my time waiting for a normal that’s never going to come.


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