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Day 2......normalcy......

Austin Texas - 2011 - 1st Pic as Family of 5

I said this to someone today. "We need a little normalcy in our lives." I've also used the phrase "new normal" many times over the last eleven months. Although our current new normal transformation started so abruptly and devastatingly, isn't life filled with many "new normals"? Kids going off to college are embarking a new normal of adulthood. Newlyweds are beginning a new normal of their own with hopes to celebrate many anniversaries together. When a child is born, it's another new normal for the happy parents. And when someone leaves this earth, a new normal must begin.

When we lost my grandmothers, the families had to find a new normal without them. Oh so many times I want to dial her number or write her a letter or come for a visit. I miss my Grandma Dode still and it's been over four years.....nothing seems the same without her. When she left, the colors of the world were duller for me for sure. A brightness had left. And when Ginny left a few years later.....well, pizza and pasta dinners seem to need a lot more spices than, how I miss her!! What legacies they left.

Today started out with our first cheer competition of the season. My girls are deeply in love with cheer leading and so are very actively involved. And today started my baby-girls fourth season as a competitive cheerleader. All the preparations of hair and make-up, warm ups, team chants, being surrounded by excited fans in just as glittery clothing as the athletes......well, it was a little bit more "normal" than most days before. It was nice.

Then, like I tend to do, I over scheduled our day and planned to have our "family" pictures taken this evening. This was an annual event for us....having a formal family picture photo session. But this year's picture will be anything but normal; a family without an anchor....seems a little out of balance. Such a huge step for me and the kids. Quite honestly, we really just never want to do anything that we did with JB ever again. We want to cherish what we had with him in our world without tarnishing any of the memories.

But that is not realistic, now is it? I recognize this and will keep pushing us forward no matter how difficult. And, so, today (& every day), I'm very thankful for all of our "normal" memories. I recognize that not everyone in this world is blessed with what we have or have had. Being able to make "new normal" memories is very important to me and a true earthly blessing for sure.

I believe where we struggle with this "pushing forward" thing is the idea of not having a future of making the memories we had dreamed of. For instance, one of the first things my big-girl said after JB's passing was, "Who's going to walk me down the isle, Mom?" That's a memory she thought she'd be making with him. Now she has to visualize this moment differently. How can she really??

We all have these visions of the future that need to be rewritten or recast-ed in our minds. In fact, contemplating this takes up about 100% of my day and night. I'm exhausted!! So having some "normalcy" (a glimpse of life before it all changed) was refreshing and energizing.

When we left the photo session, I kid you not, the sky was beautiful; different than we had ever seen before. We drove home through dark overgrown tree-lined streets that looked like silhouettes in front of a blue orange dusky sky! Although he wasn't physically there, JB was with us. He always is, really.

The song on the radio while driving home..... "Held"

"Not a tear is wasted,

in time you'll understand.

I'm painting beauty with the ashes.

Your life is in my hands."

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