Monday, April 6, 2015


For the last 3 years, I have been in a state of holding my breath.

I feared we would never hit "normal" again.  Nothing could be normal without Daddy ... after learning of my Mom's dementia... after losing friends to death... after feeling like we lived in a continual state of loss.

And yet here we are.  Normal.

This is what my new normal looks like:

I have an 8 year old who is funny, too smart for me, and helps me navigate our new world.  She keeps me thinking through my answers as her questions challenge me daily.  She is light and laughter and consistency in my days that are chaos.

I am the proud legal guardian of a beautiful, stubborn, and sweet 2 year old.  She has brought us hope in times that we couldn't conjure it up without her.  She loves loudly and deeply and fiercely... and we are thankful for the charge to help guide all of that energy in a safe and loving environment.

I have a mother who is constantly losing who she is.  Her face and sometimes mannerisms remind me of days gone by, but her current dementia filled days make me ache for our old "normal".  I go through times where I can't remember the good... and I am grateful for those who come along side me and fill my heart and mind with memories of her grace, dignity, and wisdom.

I have a precious husband who is often my barometer of pause.  He tells me when I should slow down, encourages me to write more, and will often bring out the next bottle of wine when days are as lovely as they were yesterday and our deck is filled with an impromptu gathering.

I have a faith that is changing and growing... I feel a bit like it's made of Silly Putty- words of days gone by are still imprinted on it, yet in moments I've allowed it to grow harder than is malleable.  I long for the soft and stretchy ease, yet I'm certain that I'm to learn something new in this season.

I have a home that is messy and fluid.  This past week was our Spring Break and we saw friend after friend come through our doors, leaving their mark on our hearts as we enjoyed what spice they add to our home.  Never have I enjoyed a Spring Break more... although I need to detox from the food and drinks and sleep for about 34986 more hours.

And this is our new normal.  Days filled with love and loss and joy and pain and heartache and celebration.  Normal.

I have cringed a bit lately as a few well-meaning friends have suggested that the addition of our sweet  girl is somehow supposed to fill the gap of losing our most recent baby.  While we love that their stories overlap and intersect (we think that Baby J was born right about the time our baby died), one is not a replacement for the other.  One brings hope and mothering into a bleak heart of loss... yet a life cannot be traded one for another.  Yet that is where we are- celebrating the life of one as we remember the loss of the other.  Normal.

I guess this is what being fully human is about.  Holding on to normal quite loosely, realizing that it changes moment by moment.  Trying not to get stuck in the longing for easier days, trying not to wish away the current moment while still anticipating the next.  Reaching out for spicy friends when our own bowl has become bland.  Returning the favor for others by pouring the wine when we are able. Reading and praying and writing and hugging and laughing and crying.  Encouraging others- no matter what their normal looks like- that we will gather with them through it all.

Peace and grace.
And hope for your Normal to be filled with Light, as we exhale together.

1 comment:

Sharon Swink said...

It is amazing how suffering and loss changes your normal and makes you cry out to the Lord.
So happy for all the blessings God has bestowed on you!
Sharon Swink