– Contributed by Wee C
I’m known as the mother amongst my friends. A term I’m sure they use with affection. Right, friends? I’m generally nurturing and caring and make sure you have the biggest bowl of pasta your belly can handle…followed promptly by dessert and cappuccino, of course. You know, like an Italian Mama…minus the Italian part. But a real mother, I am not. I’ve not harboured a child in my womb, licked my finger to clean my child’s face, or carried 10 tons of supplies like a personal Sherpa to my infant baby. No, the closest I have come to being a mother is teaching a bunch of tykes to ski. If that counts, I could be a pretty good mom if I ever choose to venture down that road. But until then, I have absolutely no authority on the subject. Which is why I may not have any business writing this blog post.
One of my oldest and dearest friends, and her wonderful husband (also a dear friend, just of the newer variety), recently had a babe. A precious, beautiful baby boy. I’ve spent a lot of time with them over the past six weeks, and I gotta tell you, I’ve noticed a few things. There’s not much that’s normal about their lives. For those of you who are parents, none of this will come as news. But for me, the contrast between life before and after is glaring. Five different options for carrying baby on your back or chest can be found in their home. What happened to the simplicity of the Snugglie?! My friend sits and visits with me with a pumping contraption strapped to her chest, and acts as if this is all very normal. Tummy time has suddenly become the event of the day. And I wish for Mom and Dad’s sake that this was actually the dirty activity it sounds like it is. It’s not. Nothing. Absolutely nothing about their lives is normal.
Which got me to thinking. There are a lot of similarities between their lives and mine right now. ‘Cause not much about my life is what I would have once considered normal. I don’t live in the same place, I don’t sleep in the same bed, I don’t do the same things. For the first while, I really fought to retain some degree of normalcy amidst a whole lot of change. I thought that would help me. Normal is what’s right. Right? I suspect my friends are feeling much the same way. Wanting things to be normal is normal.
But there are a few flaws with seeking normal: you’re inevitably living in the past, you’re missing what’s special about the present, and you’re not being honest with yourself. Because, guess what, if you’re trying to get “back to normal”, you’ve already lost it. Although I can’t imagine why you would want it back anyway. Going back to normal means you’d have to give up everything new in your life; those things weren’t normal before. Instead, we need to create a new normal. Yes, the things we loved about life before can be brought forward. We just need to figure out how to blend the old with the new and make that feel, well, normal.
Normal has somehow become a crutch for many of us. Wanting, wishing for what we think is normal prevents us from having to deal with the discomfort of what’s not. Chasing after normal fools us into think that we’re adjusting to our new reality. For me, as soon as I stopped trying to find normal in my life, I found it. It just didn’t look like I remembered it. In fact, in many ways, it looks much better. For my friends? Well, their new normal comes in the form of explosive poo. I’m pretty sure that’s not what their normal used to look like, but these days, it seems to suit them just fine.