New Normals

Last spring my oldest son got engaged. A shower would be held at my house, which necessitated finally repairing my unsightly kitchen ceiling. Then a reception hall proved unavailable, making my house the venue of choice. That, of course, necessitated more home renovations. In between, there was a second shower, wedding plans, another family wedding, Thanksgiving, then THE wedding (the week of which our daughter announced they’re expecting Baby No. 2), immediately followed by Christmas. All this while balancing normal life. 

Someone has said normal is a setting on a washer or dryer. It certainly doesn’t describe the load of a typical woman of a certain age. Adult children are constantly in flux, which puts the life of a mother of an adult child in flux. Sometimes life is on the delicate cycle, and sometimes it’s heavy-duty.

The other night I ran into a fellow mom of adult kids who was also dizzied by the flux of life. “How did I get here?” she mused. “Exactly!” I said. I knew exactly what she meant. I, too, had just woken up that morning to find my kids all grown up and a slightly heavier, slightly more gray woman in the mirror. “Whatever,” she laughed. “I’m just along for the ride.”

And what a ride. I won’t bother buckling in because I may have to disembark from the vehicle at any given time. Unlike the nonstop wild ride of a young mother, this ride is in spurts and fits, like a broken old wooden coaster. It’s not always comfortable and highly unpredictable. But I’ve always liked wooden coasters, and I’m a huge fan of adventure.

So as I settle into my new normal, I’ve been trying to determine the ultimate purpose of my recently acquired extra bedroom. Should it be a guest room? A craft room? My office? A nursery? Some combination thereof? Already plans may be in the works for a temporary occupant, possibly the first of several, possibly not.

And who knows how many mutations the room will experience and how long it will be before I have not one but two extra bedrooms? Within the next two years, two of my children could be in separate parts of the country. Will retirement be far off? Will our home become a vacation destination for long-distance children, or will I find myself pricing RVs to accommodate frequent travel?

These are all unknowns. I will rest in what is known – that my Lord is faithful and sovereign. – and I will cling to Him through the bumpy ride to my new normal. So this is what I say to my fellow passengers:

“Therefore, my dear brothers [and sisters], stand firm [even when you’re too dizzy to stand straight]. Let nothing [such as uncertainty about what’s ahead] move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord [putting aside excuses about how you don’t know what life will hold six months down the road], because you know that your labor in the Lord [as opposed to your labor in your newly acquired bedroom] is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Peace be with you, my friends.