After 36 years of marriage to the same wonderful man, I have come to this conclusion: WE ARE NOT NORMAL.
Now, before you open your mouth to judge or, worse yet to agree, allow me to explain. We have not been normal for most of our marriage. Way back in the early years, we appeared to be normal, but there were rumblings...of restlessness...of sleepless nights...of dreams not fulfilled...ideas with which we had no idea what to do. They filled our minds day in and day out and sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. This crazy life we now live is our love story, cracked and imperfect as it is.
We started off just like any normal couple. We met; we fell in love; we got married. I might add that we got married way too soon (four months after laying eyes on each other) but, hey, that's water over the dam now -- or under the bridge or -- well, you know what I mean. About three years into our marriage, I got pregnant. I was elated. I already had my precious son when we got married, so I had wanted another child way before I actually got one. Tim was eight years old when Hollie was born. Then exactly three years, seven weeks, and three days later, Abbie came along. She was our "surprise," but I have lived every single day since she was born wondering how I would've ever gotten along without her. As a throwback to my hippie days in the seventies, I call Abbie our love child. She will probably be mad at me for this comment, but it's the truth. Don't know when or where she came to be a tiny blessing in my womb, but a blessing for which we will be forever grateful. All our kids rock.
As time went on, we continued to resemble a normal family. We maintained a household that ticked along with the rhythm of schedules, school, work, church commitments, meals at regular times, baseball, softball, band practice, concerts, and "normal" milestone events like birthdays and graduations. Every child had their vaccinations and endured a bout with the chicken pox (for which there is now a vaccination). The kids argued and had sibling rivalries. We argued and had adult rivalries. We argued about work, finances, when or if to take vacation, how to discipline the kids, and all the other things normal people argue about. Overall we had "normal" family problems. Our kids dealt with all the growing-up pains that come with -- well, growing up. Before we knew it, our kids were grown. It happened in the quickest time warp that is comprehensible to man. Fast forward 36 years and almost eight months. The kids are not only grown, they've been out of college for 10+/- years. Yikes! Tim is married to a wonderful lady and they parent the first two of my wonderful grandchildren. Hollie is married to a wonderful man and they parent the most recent two of my wonderful grandchildren (one of whom is still in the hatch!). And as much as I don't want to admit it sometimes (and much to her angst), Abbie is all grown up now, able to take care of herself, coming up soon on her 30th birthday, and completely in control of her life living in a huge city all by herself 800 miles away from her mama. The times are different now.
WE are different now. I have learned that time changes things, and hardly anything remains the same. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, but I've finally come to the realization that life can only move forward because of change. Change is sometimes difficult, but it is totally necessary. And sometimes we don't even realize that those same changes we 'dread and hope will never come' are the catalysts for seeing the dreams and wishes we've had all of our life come true. Sometimes we don't even realize what those dreams and wishes are until the changes force us to bend, maybe even break, and then pick up all the pieces to begin again. This morning, I am sitting at my computer, penning (in the loosest form of that word) this blogpost. Writing is my passion and it has taken me a lifetime to realize that this is where I am happiest. But this is the weird, totally un-normal thing about it: I am not in an office doing this thing that I love. I am in my nightgown in a tiny corner of my tiny kitchen. I have no makeup on my face and my hair has a slight case of bedhead with a few spikes of hair awkwardly sticking up at the crown; I haven't even showered yet or brushed my teeth this morning, ewwhh. Oh, too much info? Sorry. Hubby has been up since 4:00 a.m., as his passions don't even allow him a full-eight hours' rest most nights. He is an intense man. After falling asleep at his desk several times, he was forced to close his eyes for another hour or so. Being self-employed affords him the luxury of choosing his own hours. Many days we are able to have lunch together. Sometimes we have a date right in the middle of a Wednesday. I have realized in very recent months that we are not a normal couple, nor will we ever be. We don't work normal hours, we don't sleep normal hours, we don't even eat at normal hours. We are living what most people might consider a life of uncertainty in so many ways. Sometimes it's a feast; sometimes it's famine. Sometimes it's all creative energy; sometimes it's a dry and dusty desert. But no two days are ever the same.
But as some might see us living a life that is uncertain, unconventional, and definitely not the norm, we call it livin' the dream. We see it as living the life we've always wanted, but didn't know we wanted till we got here. We have never been more free to move forward, to explore our ideas, to choose our own projects, and do it all at our own pace in our own timing. Matter of fact, come to think of it, none of our family is normal. Our family is not buckled into much that our society considers the status quo...normal jobs moving up the ladders of success, normal lifestyle, normal anything. We live sometimes from day to day. We look for adventure in every single opportunity. We chase dreams. We take risks. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we succeed. But there is never, ever a dull moment. Our kids don't fit into the norm, either (sorry, kiddos, but I'm beginning to believe it's your lot in life). Tim joined the National Guard to serve his country and provide for his family at the age of 34 (when a lot of soldiers are thinking of retiring), followed by a stint as a stay-at-home dad. He is always up for a project with the hubs -- even if they don't have a clue what they're doing!! Hollie is a medical missionary who has lived in a developing country for the last six years and birthed her first baby there. Abbie is a creative...a ceramic artist who spends her days putting her hands in clay and paint and glaze and coaxing it all into something of great value. We are a family of reachers, seekers, dreamers, and doers.
And even though sometimes normalcy looks very enticing to me because creativeness and entrepreneurship can be exhausting, I know that it will never be that way because it is not who we are.
The conclusion I've come to after 36 years? Normal is 100 percent, without a doubt, totally overrated. Don't you think so?
The proof that we are not your average family. Last Halloween, we all -- each and every one of us -- dressed up for the event! I mean, what family really does that? If you know someone, don't tell me 'cause I think we're special! One thing that absolutely never changes over the years of intense change? The immense, heart-wrenching love we share in our family. The only thing it does is dig its roots deeper into our hearts.
And that's a story for another time.
Posted by CC
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