Monday, August 2, 2010

normal

for the past few months, a few words have been floating around in my head. i've been trying to make sense of them. what they really mean, you know?

'normal' is one of them.

what is normal? is there really such a thing? i know it's conforming to some sort of a standard or a usual or regular state, but who really sets those standards? and, if you don't somehow meet those standards, can you really never be considered normal?

some people choose to not conform or meet the standards on purpose. they like to stand out. they like to be different. others have those irregularities forced upon them. they have no choice.

for the first 11 years of my life, i grew up with a mom and a dad and two brothers and a sister. pretty normal. right? well, when my dad died and then my mom later remarried and i found myself with a step-dad and six step-siblings, i didn't feel very normal all of a sudden. but as i looked around, i found that most of my friends had different familial situations. and, as i continued on through life, that mixed family came to be much more normal to me.

i'm pretty sure leah is not normal to most people. but today, she seemed pretty normal to me. sure, she never spoke a word. sure, i spoon/hand fed her every single one of her meals, snacks and drinks. sure, she wasn't able to pick up any of the toys in her rooms. sure, i had to turn the pages of her books for her while i read them out loud.

but it was normal.

today i didn't give any of that a second thought.

today i went on a long walk with my little one and she fell asleep in the stroller. today she happily sat in multiple shopping carts as we ran one errand after another. today she laughed at and was engaged in her favorite tv show. today she snuggled into my arms as we read "little red riding hood" and other normal childrens' books. today she giggled like crazy every time i tickled her. today she stood by my side as i did the dishes, cleaned the bathroom and tidied up her bedroom. today she ran away from me, giggling, each time i told her to come to bed.

that's pretty normal, right?

it's kind of strange that, nine months ago, you could have played this day for me on video tape and i would have thought it was so strange. i'm sure outsiders think it's strange too. {actually, i know they do. i see their stares.} but every day, it just becomes a little more normal.

some days are more frustrating than others. but that's normal, right?

some days i dream about her saying silly things or dressing in silly outfits or being potty trained or eating her meals by herself or not hyperventilating or walking up and down a flight of stairs all by herself. but then i wake up and think, "wow. that was weird." it just wouldn't be normal.

this is leah. this is our life. it's pretty normal to me.

{that looks like a pretty normal three year old to me.}

15 comments:

Erica said...

i know i say this a lot but, you're smart. really really smart.

Jen said...

love that picture of Leah. . . definitely normal. :)

Dawn said...

Yep, normal is all about perspective and it sounds like you have a great one!

Kristen said...

Normal is all relative, isn't it? What's normal for one might not be normal for another. Happiness is what matters and Leah brings A LOT of happiness to A LOT of people. (You do too, by the way!)

ed and kelli said...

bean is way normal... her rock hard abs, i wish were my normal:) ps.. i love the dress.

KaraLyn said...

I asked that same question on one of my blog posts recently. ;) You are an exceptional mommy and Leah is an exceptional little girl! I supposedly have 5 "normal" kids, but I certainly don't feel "normal" most of the time. :) You are doing a great work, and that's really all that matters.

Jessica M said...

I love your perspective Maren. Really, you're great. Maybe y'all should think about living in the south again, eh??

Karen Hauley said...

It felt pretty "normal" to play at the beach with bean. I loved, loved lifting her over the waves and watching her legs go crazy! Can't wait to spend some more time with you guys.

Molly said...

When I was pregnant with Graham, I learned really quickly that EVERYTHING anyone experiences in pregnancy is "normal" because no two pregnancies are alike. Even "abnormal" stuff was "normal." Does that make any sense? This post reminded me a lot of that. What's normal is what is familiar in your life. I know it's a lot harder for you, but Leah is "normal" to me. Not the same as kids without Rett, but she is normal to me. We love her.

Heather said...

Yep, you sound normal to me. I always wonder when you hear "oh they say that....." well who is THEY?

rachel said...

Thank you for this post. You have a talent for writing Maren. Thank you for sharing it with us. Love you and thinking of you!

Morgan said...

loved this post mare.

Liz Maxfield said...

"Normal is a setting on the washing machine."

I saw this quote on a wooden plaque at The Quilted Bear in UT and loved it. I'm going to put it in my home someday.

Jenny said...

Hey, it looks like we were on the same wave length lately...I was just a couple days behind you. At first, this definitely wasn't normal, but I've been amazed at how quickly we can adjust to create the new normal. (sigh -- a happy sigh)

megan said...

I agree...the definition of normal changes everyday for me! You're a good mom, Mar.