To Be Normal or Not To Be ~ That is a GREAT question.

It is so hard to believe that all the kids are back in school. To that I say, YES! It has been five years since I have had all my kids in school. On my days off (Monday and Tuesday) I find I have some down time to myself. No kids to pick up, no doctor’s appointments, no grocery shopping. Just me and the stillness of our home. It’s been total bliss. Things during my alone time feel normal. At least until that blasted school bell rings.

Google defines normal as conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

Things around the Baron house seem to run pretty normal. Between my independent, beautiful sophomore wanting to drive all over, my  little  man running around shouting football plays to his plushies, and my strong-willed, cancer fighter, trying to convenience me it would be okay if she went swimming even though her port is accessed, is normal for us. But what is normal anyway? Google defines normal as conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. Sounds good, right? I mean who doesn’t want a normal life? Who doesn’t want to live a life where everything is played out by the book? Where you know exactly what is going to happen?

Before all the chaos started in December 2013, I thought we had a pretty “normal” life. But when you are thrown one of life’s curve balls, you realize your life wasn’t normal, it was stale. Doing the same ol’ thing day in and day out. Stressing out about keeping up the routine and not deviating from the schedule. You go about your business not realizing all you are missing out on by staying in your comfy little lane, doing what you normally do.

 Dinner doesn’t have to be served by 6pm and if you happen to skip bath time to have more play time, your kid’s skin will not rot off.

Since that December, I have learned so much about the importance of life. Not just with Mallorie’s illness, but with other things as well. I learned that even though you have a 15 year-old daughter, who you think wants to take care of herself, really needs you around. (Even if she rolls her eyes.) And the little precious son who wants you to play with him, even if it is just for 10 minute, loves you more than Madden 25. You have extended family and precious friends who are there for you at the drop of a hat, even when you can’t be there for them. You realize after being cooped up in a small hospital room  you actually miss fresh air. You realized how much you miss playing Skip-Bo and Uno, because it wasn’t jotted down on the “to-do” list.  You learn dinner doesn’t have to be served by 6pm and if you happen to skip bath time to have more play time, your kid’s skin will not rot off.

“As long as everything is exactly the way I want, I am totally flexible.”

I have this tendency to make myself stick to a normal routine. Yes, I do believe you need a good solid structure, like a set bed time, no texting of phone calls after 10pm and not skipping breakfast, but I discovered that the more I try to control what I defined as normal, the more I realize I have no control at all.  I read a quote once that said, “As long as everything is exactly the way I want, I am totally flexible.” Heck yeah, sounds good to me, right? In a perfect world, of course, but we all know we don’t live in one of those.  So one of the many things I have taken from this whole cancer experience is uncertainty is my new normal. And I use that term because you just never know from day-to-day what you’re in for. And really, if you think about it, you don’t have to be going through some traumatic experience to understand that concept.  For me, this could mean Mallorie woke up with her mouth covered in sores and a fever, that means off to the doctors. I didn’t have that programmed in my reminders on my phone. Or it could be heading out the door, with kids in tow, stumbling upon a stupid, flat tire. Great! Now we are all going to be late! How about just getting into work, all ready to start your day and the school calls to let you know your son stuck a pencil up his nose. EEK! Didn’t see that marked in the Day Planner.

I think if we can stop worrying about being so normal and learn to be more flexible, we would find uncertainty isn’t so bad. I am not saying toss your responsibilities out the window and make life a free-for-all, but since life is going to get messy from time to time, might as well put on your mud boots, put down the to-do list and join in by making memories instead of missing out by being a control freak.

As I close, I leave you with a music lyric from one of my favorite bands, REO Speedwagon:

So if you’re tired of the
Same old story
Turn some pages
I’ll be here when you are ready
To roll with the changes
Roll with the changes

I know the song isn’t about rolling with the changes I wrote about, but it was the song that kept playing in my mind as I typed this post. So in my mind it makes sense. LOL!

God bless.

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