How often in life do we say the words, “Wait until things get back to normal. Then we can _____.” I have said those words quite often throughout my husband’s Army career, but I feel like I have said that phrase a lot while living in Virginia.
We moved to Virginia right before Christmas in 2005. Once we were settled in the beginning of January 2006, my husband went away to school for 4 months. Our normal was that dad wasn’t home. That’s not how we want normal, so we always said, “Once dad is home, then we can ____.”
Things were “normal” for a little while here. When my husband switched offices, he started traveling a lot. He was gone half of each month. He mostly traveled stateside, but he did make more trips than he wanted to overseas during that time. Again, we didn’t want our normal to be three of us at home and dad gone most of the time.
“Maybe when he retires things will get back to normal.” Things were better the first year he retired. He was still traveling but not as much.
Then he switched jobs and started traveling again - a lot of traveling. Our youngest son who is a gymnast had also switched gyms around this time period. His new gym is 21 miles from our house, and he practices 4 days/week (5 days/week in the summer). The catch was his school was 14 miles the opposite direction from our house, and he needed to be picked up from school on practice days in order to get his homework done and make it to practice on time. We developed a new normal for our house which meant a lot of road time for mom and dad.
It was during this time period that I realized “what if this is normal for us”? There would be no waiting until things get back to normal. This is it.
Shortly after we came to this realization and embraced this new normal for our house, I broke my arm in a car accident. It was a bad break which required surgery and a lot of hardware. It was an 8 month recovery. I was unable to drive for 2 months. I couldn’t dress myself. This was not our normal, but a new normal was established quickly. It had my husband doing a lot of stuff; his work was very accommodating and didn’t require him to travel until I was ready to take care of myself.
Once I was cleared to drive again, I was so happy to be able to make that daily practice drive with my son. I was thrilled to be able to drive S to his therapeutic riding lesson (31 miles away). I learned to appreciate the fact that I had the ability to do these things rather than view them as chores. It’s all perspective!
Normal at our house isn’t normal at other homes. Each household has their own “normal”. We aren’t bored at our house. We are too busy to be bored. We get a lot of one-on-one time with our teenage sons on our drives. We talk. Sometimes we listen to the radio. Sometimes they play on their phones. We appreciate down time in our home.
The other week I logged 204 miles driving to “normal” activities in two days. It doesn’t leave me with a lot of free time, so I do appreciate being on the couch with chocolate.