What is normal? Are you normal? Am I normal? Is anyone normal?
Normal: conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
I have tried to be normal… I conformed to most of the expected standards of a typical “good girl” growing up in the 60’s-70’s. I did the usual things… school, band, Girl Scouts. I had the typical family – 2 parents still married to each other, dog, cat, 2 little brothers. We drove a station wagon or a VW van… or for those brief moments when I became NOT normal, I drove a VW convertible bug. I went to college… I worked at summer camp… I was certified to be a lifeguard… I fell in love… I got married…
Is normal even a thing anymore? I sit here thinking that I just want my life to be normal again. I want my house to be in order, my kids to be happy, my mother to be in her own home doing her own thing…
My “new” normal is not fun. My new normal began over 10 years ago… I didn’t like it then and I like it even less now. I don’t like change. I had/have dreams and they keep getting suppressed. My new normal now includes… taking care of my mother 8-12 hours per day (soon to be 24/7). My new normal does NOT include being involved with the youth at a church doing music and VBS ministries.
I understand that some things change with time… as much as I would love to go back in time to when the girls were little… they grow up. I am OK with that. They are doing great. Despite all the changes, they are resilient and they are making their own marks on the world and establishing their normals.
I keep saying to my family, “In my mind, when the house is done, everything will be in order around here. Mom’s room will be such that she cannot get into things we don’t want her messing with. She will be able to move about and fiddle with everything in her room.” In my mind, I can do it. In my mind, this house can once and for all actually be organized. The problem is… the other people who live here don’t share this same vision. My normal… expected normal… newest normal… is NOT their normal.
I know that I am actually NOT normal… but I don’t think anyone really is… which maybe means that abnormal is really normal? Everyone is unique, that is how we were made. If everyone was the same, life might be easy, but it would also be boring.
Is it normal to grieve my mother and father and grandparents daily? Is it normal to cry almost daily over hard things and silly things? Is it normal to wish for easier times? Is it normal to long for happier days? Is it normal to want to be held and loved daily? Is it normal to be so crippled with the weight of this life that all you want to do is play with yarn? Is it normal to still be sleeping in your living room for 4+ months while you wait to get construction complete? (NO, THAT ONE IS DEFINITELY NOT NORMAL!!)
As isolated as I feel most of the time, I also try to remind myself that I am normal and how I am responding and dealing with the “hand” I’ve been dealt and the “normal” I am now living, is probably normal for just about anyone going through this.
This is one reason that I spew so much on Facebook about what I am going through. I know that I cannot be the only person facing these issues, even though I feel like it. If I spew my angst and grief and anger and frustration, maybe someone else will feel less alone. They will know that they too are “normal” because someone else feels the same way.
I also know that some people have unfriended me because of it… that is fine. Probably, my rawness is something that they don’t want to read and deal with. For many, FB is just a light and easy way to connect with the world and play some games. It is fine, if you have hidden me and unfriended me. (you won’t see this either)
This is also the reason that I have hidden and blocked some people on FB. I found their comments to not be helpful to me and to actually cause me more anxiety and angst. I would rather just hide them than live fearing what they would post next. Their posts weren’t necessarily negative, but they were certainly not helpful and got to be more than I wanted to deal with.
So… normal… I guess I am somewhat normal… for me. I am normal for a 50-something woman, caught in the sandwich generation, dealing with a mother with dementia, teenage and 20-something daughters, 4 cats and one dog, a husband, and house construction. How normal can I really be?