I’ve been thinking a lot these days on the concept of “normal”. As we prepare to leave Joshua Tree after Mr. F’s six month work contract here, it feels normal to us– this constant research of new places, rental prices, average weather temps, this packing up of our belongings and anticipation of discovering a new place. While this is life for us right now, it’s taken a while for it to feel normal for me. I don’t freak out as much as I used to. In fact, it’s possible we could leave the desert without actually knowing where our next landing spot will be. I know for many folks, the concept of this way of life would be too scary, too unpredictable to handle. But for us, at least at this point in our lives, that’s what makes it fun! And in each new place, we settle into our own very normal routine, just as if we’ve lived there for years. We find our favorite coffee purveyor, weekend breakfast spot and an evening walking route.
We were back in San Diego this weekend to celebrate the birthdays of the young sons of our friends there. A & N turned three years old. Three years ago, their parents had just adopted big brother C, and were getting used to the idea of being parents to him when they found out they were pregnant with two more boys. Their idea of normal life had been turned on its head.
After lots of scares and complications, the boys were born, but very prematurely. They struggled to survive in the NICU for weeks. M & V’s new normal was caring for C while championing A & N to grown strong enough to come home. Their normal changed again after finally being able to bring the boys home but then continuing to endure hospital stays, testing and therapy.
Eventually it was determined that A wasn’t progressing in the same way as N. Normal then morphed again when their son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. So normal became not only the craziness of juggling life with three small children, but fighting the odds to make sure A had every chance possible. He is now a thriving three year old boy with a smile as wide as the ocean. He can communicate in three languages– English, Spanish ( V is from a wonderful, large loving Mexican family ) and sign language. He loves music and went horseback riding with no fear the morning of his birthday party.
And now their normal has been shaken again, as C undergoes genetic testing for a possible muscular disorder. It seems that normal will be an ever changing concept for this sweet family. But what remains constant through each twist and turn is their love and strength and grace in weathering each storm and embracing each change. After all, their normality is what becomes every day practice for them, just as our normality is our own familiar experience. Circumstances may feel foreign at first, but the more we immerse ourselves in our new experiences, the more normal they become. This is what I’m continually reminding myself when I think about the uncertainty that lies ahead. With each change, we become better versions of our normal selves.
Photos were taken during the “painting party” for A&N on Saturday. Want to see more from This Artsy Life? Follow me on Instagram!
All images by Artsy Forager.