Friday, October 15, 2010

A New Normal

This evening as I was helping David prepare some materials for a project, we came across this photo.

It's hard to catch a picture of this kid smiling and not putting on some goofy face. I think it comes with the territory - he's the youngest, he's always acting silly.

But somehow, we caught him in an authentic moment and got his glorious smile.

This is from an incredible day - my wedding in December. He's an incredible kid. We had to crop out his cousins, and he worried that it wasn't particularly nice to cut them out of the photo.

I think it's okay.
And here are a couple more incredible kids. Monday was a school holiday, so we took a quick trip to the "Metro Richmond Zoo". It's not really much of a zoo, but it's not bad, for being in the middle of nowhere.

David and I had been talking on Sunday about what he liked, what his passions were and how he wanted to spend his time. He's not into sports; he isn't a huge social butterfly. We talked about a few things, and when I pressed him for what it was that made him happy, he said, "Anytime we're all together." He said it didn't matter what we did, but he was happy when we were all doing it together.

Interesting take on life from his vantage point, as the fifth of five.

So off we went to the zoo. It was fun, but in all honesty, it was somewhat bittersweet. I'm starting to adjust and adapt to the fact that rather than a rarity, it is normal now to only have three - or two, or just one - of the kids in tow. It just feels so...strange. Everybody's trying to figure out how to be, where we all fit, without the two oldest girls in the mix. It's not bad, but there is a sense of loss, and it tinges everything just a bit. Sort of a melancholy.

I wonder - does that ever go away? Or does it just get deeper and deeper as each one heads out the door?

But then, there's this other part of life. I'm still adjusting to being married again, to having a partner. It's a great blessing but it's required a bit of negotiation at times - with myself and with him. The past several years have been hard-fought, and to release the "I gotta do this on my own" attitude has been a bit more challenging than I anticipated.

But every bit of the challenge is worth it.

I'm learning a new way to do "family". There is loss and love and the crumbling of some old structures and the building of the new. I watch my eldest son grow into a man, looking more and more like his father every day, with a solidity and a focus that sets my heart towards his future with great expectation. I see a beautiful young woman who continues to learn about limitations - her own and of those around her - and who strives to adapt and adjust in order to soar. She is tackling a challenging school schedule with guts, working hard, dealing with her own loss (stolen iPad, still missing), learning to drive, growing up.

And there's David, who is learning, finally, to smile.


Tracy said...

I always read your blog...but am horrible about posting comments. However, this one was poignant for me and very uplifting. As I have lived with a separation long enough to adapt, wind down the divorce, soon to be final, one daughter living away but graduating college in December, one daughter still at home in junior high but adapting to life without mom and dad together, who still misses her big sis...I find myself CONSTANTLY wondering what is the "new normal" in my life. It seems as if we adjust, readjust, adjust some more, etc. The boundaries do move alot, and may be moving again with Casie's graduation, applying to grad school, and maybe moving home to attend one here. I am relating to your words of a new way to do "family", although mine is adapting to life as a single person, while you are adapting to life as a married person. And I agree, every bit of the challenge is worth it.

Ktea said...

i love you and your family. :)