A Foothold in Normality

Normal, consistent structure calms my anxieties and stress. It reduces the need to make dozens of decisions on a daily basis, minimizes misunderstandings, and moves me toward desired goals.

Just when I left work a year ago to write from home–my own manuscripts, blog and other freelance writing projects–our normal life erupted.  You don’t need the Christmas-letter version,  but here’s a brief summary of what the year’s brought:

My husband took a new job, we moved 100 miles south of the community where we lived for 13 years, and we sold the family home we built.

Our first child graduated from high school. started college, and chose to stay three states away to work this summer.

Our son earned his Eagle Scout, received his driver’s permit and then his license, started his first job, moved schools and started playing rugby.

Our youngest daughter became a teenager in the middle of all this chaos. Need I say more?

We had a familiar structure in place, but circumstances tore it up and scattered its parts. Together, we’ve been busy resembling it, trying to find a foothold in normality again.

Three months after our move, an extra-long winter, and a week of full-time nurturing caused me to wonder if this season of life is intentionally void of structure and normality.

My friend and I talked about how the toddler years give way to a “honeymoon period” of parenting, the time between 7-12 when few changes to that structure need to happen. But then, the teen years, and the time of children leaving home is an even more dynamic time of growth for them and for me.

I’m working with my teens to learn to adjust their expectations, but maybe this is also a good lesson for me.

I can’t standardize my life anymore. I can’t enact bedtime, control choices, or require conformance just to suit my own way. I left that behind with the rigid and expected life I thought I was creating.

Maybe the foothold I’m seeking should not be normality, but the daily peace that comes in affirming prayers.

And a reminder to cheer for change, even though it’s a challenge.





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