What is Normal?

Today, I sit at my computer grateful to get back to my routine of writing blog posts after our recent medical mayhem. It’s ironic that I’m not quite sure what to write about because it’s obvious I should write about Catherine coming home from the H. Several have reached out to ask how she’s doing and I feel nearly guilty that I haven’t publically let folks know she came home and is doing great. I don’t write this blog primarily as a chronicle of her life though. I write it as a source of inspiration (a little therapy for me!) and yes, that inspiration comes most frequently from her life.


It’s so weird how quickly we move back into our routine and leave out the part where we came home from the H. I oftentimes think that just goes to show how “normal” it is for us to come and go from the H in general. But that’s not normal. And it’s certainly not normal to be in the ICU. And it’s certainly not normal for your kid not to be able to breathe. So why does all this feel normal to me?

I guess it’s because “normal” is all about what you’re used to experiencing routinely. That suggests we can create our own “normal” by upping the frequency of our experiences and making deliberate choices about them. For example, if we want trips to the beach to be in our realm of “normal,” then we choose to go to the beach frequently. If we want a life of adventure to be our “normal” then we need to create that. If we want TV and computer games to be “normal” then we allow it. We can create our “normal” experience to some degree. And “normal” is different for every person and every family.

And then there are things and situations that we’re given that we don’t particularly choose or create that become “normal” for us. I didn’t choose for Catherine to come in and out of the H more frequently than other kids. I do choose my attitude about it. I had a hard time with this most recent H visit because I kept thinking her pneumonia wasn’t a big deal. I kept thinking she’d be fine and we should be home. After all, we have oxygen and nursing at home so we can manage things in our own home rather than having to stay at the H. In fact, the very reason we have those things is to be able to treat her at home because it’s less expensive than a trip to the H. Like most everything else she’s encountered, I was confident she’d pull through it. Then the days turned into a week, I started seeing little to no change in x-rays, and I realized that this hospitalization wasn’t “normal” – not even for her. My confidence faltered.  It ceased feeling “normal.”

“Normal” comes when an experience is routine and we accept it as such. It’s only “not normal” when we fight against it or define it as rare. So, I eventually chose to accept Catherine’s hospitalization rather than fight it and we eventually came home, which isn’t at all rare – it’s happened every time so far (thank God!). And that’s what enables me to think of her hospitalization as “normal” – maybe not normal for most. Thankfully, it is definitely normal for us.


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