A New Normal

The following is a guest post from my aunt Margie, who has read and cheered me on through the Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me series, even as her own “babies” are growing up and leaving the nest.  A mother doesn’t forget those early days and years, the adjusting to the new, the unknown.  Life with an infant is only the beginning of many “new normals.”  The lesson here is to get friendly with the adjusting, and prepare to embrace it! 

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“Hey Mom! I’ve decided to go to summer school. I applied for a job in the residence halls. It will pay me a salary and I get my own room and a meal plan. Plus, my scholarship will pay for summer school. What do you think?”

My daughter turned 21 in May. She was the first-born and I had NO idea how difficult it would be to bring home a newborn while trying to recover from a C-section. I was dealing with emotions that come with having a baby plus the frustration of recovering from surgery. I was an emotional mess and I desperately wanted my life to get back to normal.

I still remember the phone call. It was a very dear friend who simply called to check on me. She lived several hours away and wanted to let me know that she was praying for me and would be coming to visit later in the week. During the conversation, I mentioned my desire for life to return to normal.  I still remember her advice as she calmly replied, “Oh, Margie! You need a new normal! “ She was right. The new baby and recovering from surgery was my new normal.

There have been MANY “new normal” experiences since then. The first day of school for each of my children, my parents moving from SE Kansas to a town 10 miles away, sports schedules, returning to grad school to finish my Masters degree, my two oldest graduating from high school, me returning to teaching after being a full-time homemaker for 18 years, and the most recent, my oldest announcing that she was staying on campus for the summer.

The truth is life is full of adjusting to “new normals”. This fall my son moves out to attend college and play baseball for his new school. In four short years my youngest child will graduate high school and leave my husband and me to deal with an empty nest. We simply do not know what lies ahead of us on this journey called life.

You might be wondering just what I said to my daughter during that recent phone conversation. I wanted to scream “No! You are coming home! You will work at the Co-op just like you have for the past several years!” Instead I calmly replied, “Sounds like a great plan! We will miss having you home this summer, but this is a great opportunity for you. I won’t like this change, but I’ll adjust. I will find my new normal!”

What new normal have you had to adjust to recently?  Please share tips to ease the transition!

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Comments

  1. I could actually “hear” her response to her daughter! Sounded just like Margie! Great job!!!

  2. This is a really great article…..one I needed to read. Thank you. Having babies certainly creates a “new normal.” :-)

  3. My husband leaving six monts was a huge adjustment and I am still finding that “new normal”. The initial shock for me and the kids was probably the hardest part. To help ease the transition the kids and I moved a couple of hours away to be closer to a wonderful support system of church family. The biggest help in this transition has been clinging to God, learning to run to Him for all my needs and trusting Him. Prayer is crucial! Thankfulness has made a huge impact too as me and the kids work on our 1000 gifts list. I have four young children and I’m trying to spend 1 on 1 time with each of them because they need it and I need it. I’m learning the importance of a relationship with the Father because without that this could have REALLY been a much more damaging experience for all of us.

    • Oh wow, Mari. Definitely a new normal. It warms my heart that you’re working on a 1,000 gifts list with your children!

  4. Nancy Thyfault says:

    As a Mom of a college sophmore, just about to leave again, 900 miles from home, my biggest tip is SKYPE!!!!! Phone calls are great, but get on Skype. We like to have “dinner” or a snack together. You can glean so much from the kids when you physically can see them. Thx.

    • We have ichat in our house and I really like it. We do not use it as much as I thought we would just because of busy schedules however, you are so right. Being able to physically see your college age children is such a blessing. Thank you technology! :)

    • Amazing to live in a day and age where we can “visit” from 900 miles away!

  5. About 6 weeks ago we moved to another state. My husband really wanted this move. I did not. (enough said) Our kids will be going from a small, private Christian school to a large public school here. I work, but telecommute, so my job is the same and my husband does not want me to quit my job. Two days ago my husband had surgery to remove what the doctor is 95% sure was a malignant tumor in one of his testicles. We are waiting on the pathology report. So here’s my new normal: most likely battling cancer in a state with no friends, no support system, and a fraction (literally) of the financial reserves we had before all the moving expenses, losing money on selling our old house and buying a new one in a higher cost of living area. While trying to quiet the voice inside me screaming ‘why?’, I’m trying to do these things:
    1)ask for and gratefully accept prayer. My own ability to pray seems gone, although I can still pray for others.
    2)do the things I’ve always done. God didn’t change. My circumstances did. I’m reading my Bible daily, going to Mass, listening exclusively to Christian music, reading Christian bloggers. I think sometimes it’s not always what you feel, but what you do. At least I hope so.
    3)I’m waiting. As much as I fought this move, there were several things that happened which seemed to indicate this was what God wanted us to do. Example: we had a contract on a house. Houses here are so expensive, and we had settled and agreed on a price that was $40,000 more than the max I wanted to, but my husband had been here since last December (kids and I stayed back to finish the school year), and we knew that was just the way houses are priced here and so we did it. We knew we could not afford to live in the city my husband works in if we didn’t bite the bullet while house prices are still down. The appraisal came in $52,000 under the contract price. We thought, okay – so we don’t get that house. Not meant to be! The sellers came back and offered to take $42,000 less. So now miraculously the house is $2,000 less than my max. I consider that a God story. You may not, and that’s okay. So all that to say. God is God. He is unchanging and He is good. I don’t know his plan for me and that frustrates me and it scares me. That doesn’t change anything about Him. So I’m waiting. Faith isn’t always knowing the outcome. Faith is believing in the Father even when you don’t. So I guess that’s my tip. Believe.

    I’m sorry this is so long. And I would love it if you would pray for me.

    • Hi Sheila! The last part of your comment really jumped out at me “Faith isn’t always knowing the outcome. Faith is believing int he Father even when you ….” I think that is really something I needed to hear right now. I feel like God is leading me to a place in the near future where I will have to take a leap of faith, so I found your comment very encouraging and timely….thank you! Sounds like you are having to make some huge adjustments in your life, I’ll be praying that your family can make a smooth transition into your “new normal.”

      • Sheila,
        I will pray for you. I’ll pray that God surrounds you with his love. I’ll also pray for your husband’s health. I loved your point about your circumstances changing but God did not. Very, very, true.
        Margie

    • “God didn’t change. My circumstances did.”

      Heavenly Father,

      You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Sheila’s in a bind, Lord, and she needs your unwavering love, your consistent peace. It’s so frustrating and scary to live this uncertain life set before us, but you are there. Care for Sheila as she navigates her new normal, and makes the best of the situation for herself and her family. Please heal her husband and wow the whole family with your miracles.

  6. This story causes a pang in my heart. I know with a 17, 15, 13, and 10 yr. old my new normal is close by! I don’t look forward to an empty nest.

    • Kara,
      I have several friends who have “empty nests” and they all………are you ready for this…………….every single one of them……………..LOVE IT! All of them agree that………you have more time for your spouse, more time to volunteer, you can finally do something for yourself, etc. While I am not looking forward to my last child leaving home, I am encouraged by my friends and how smoothly the transition has been for them.
      Margie

    • Our 8yo reminded us recently that she’s “halfway to 16.” I was not impressed. ;)

  7. A note from the 21yo daugher:

    All in all, I think Mom did a pretty good job writing this guest post. I remember a few minor details a little differently (like Mom being excited about my opportunity to take a summer class for free!), but the main points are still there. I do know; however, that Mom missed one very important point. The only reason I was able to act on the decision to stay in Manhattan and take the great work and class opportunities was because she and Dad have been wonderful parents. Not every child is blessed with parents that take the time to teach their children the values of hard work and humility and give them the support they need to take the steps to becoming great “grown-ups”. It’s only through Mom and Dad’s love, support, and pushes when I needed them that I’ve been able to handle being away from my family all summer.

    So, sorry Mom. Me staying in Manhattan is your (and Dad’s) fault ;)

    I LOVE YOU!!

  8. Thanks Kristen!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] me relax in this field, but I still have a long way to go (He’s still working on me). A post at Amy’s Finer Things really hit home with me……when things change, you have to create a “new normal.” Life [...]

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