Thursday, May 25, 2017

A New Normal

It was an adventurous week.

It was a hard week.

It was a long week.

It was just another week...that included toddlers, teenagers, more responsibility than usual.

Eight periods of listening to and judging seniors' Last Lectures, then driving to help care for two toddlers, a tween, a teenager, and a worn out Tony.

A few weeks later, waking up in my own home, things back to normal, I can look back to evaluate, reminisce, and feel gratitude that my normal was only delayed by a week.

Sometimes the return to normal never happens. It disappears when a driver fails to stop at a red light, when a baby is born, or when a medical test comes back positive.

This is when life orders a new normal.

I had never thought of normals as mutable until a wise friend described the new normal after she got cancer. She didn't want the abundance and joy of life to change---but it had, so, she changed her expectations.

She couldn't expect to have her regular hair appointment for awhile, or even have hair.

She couldn't expect to pop out of bed with her regular call to "Charge!"

She couldn't enjoy the taste of macaroni and cheese, or apples, or homemade bread for awhile without losing her stomach.


she could enjoy the new normal of wearing fun hats and scarves;
she could enjoy the contemplation of bed rest and the gratitude of those who cared for her;
she could look forward to the day when her appetite would return;

she could enjoy the new normal because she shifted her expectations.

Twenty years later, cancer in remission, even long gone, she's facing a new normal:

Her husband's failing health, her own slowing down, her diminishing ability to hear.

Her new normal is gratitude for the days her husband gets out of bed.
Gratitude for her growing grandchildren.
Gratitude for her own attentive children who have cared for their father as never before.

~~~Last night, as Tony and I were sitting at the bank, notarizing and buying EUs, I noticed the details in his face were vanishing. He was fading, or rather my eyesight is fading. My new normal, to which adaptation is really quite easy, includes the more frequent wearing of eyeglasses, or a new life metaphor. English teacher that I am, the new metaphor brings a smile as I contemplate this new normal.

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