As normal as it can be

We’re five weeks in, so we’ve had enough time to melt down, stress out, break down, and find our way through. We’ve found a rhythm that works for our family, and while no one wants to live through a pandemic or house arrest, we have established a normalish lifestyle.

Still, even the best mediations don’t prevent the stress and strange from creeping in. We have days that feel almost normal, but also days that feel like a primal scream coming from one mouth than another. Those days feel so, so long – and then we feel like we’ll never see the end of this.

A great advisor told me that to give grace to each other when all of us are frayed around the edges means identifying our knee-jerk reaction…and doing the opposite. As crazy indulgent and illogical as that sounded, its application has worked some minor miracles around here. It’s led to cuddles and softness, where we normally rely on more structure and logic. It works as well on adults as it does on kids! It had led us to some growing peace.

Our pace is slowing, as we find new efficiencies and have less resistance to our current normal. We haven’t had much opportunity to do anything but work after bedtime for over a year, but I sit here watching some show I’ve never heard of. I don’t know what the next month or six months will bring or look like, or what will follow that. But I do know that none of us have any option but to march on. No amount of protesting or resisting will change the reality of what we are going to have to live through. So our goal is to find the small joys when we have the space to do that, like now, and to worry about the “what next?” as it starts to take shape. So as you smile over our funny kid pics, realize that those laughs are interspersed with full-body writhing. This isn’t easy for anyone, no matter how cute the stories are. But, eventually, it will be again.