What is it about being “normal” that is so comforting?
My kid still poops about 4 times a day.
“Oh, that’s normal” a friend says.
Because it certainly doesn’t feel normal, wiping asses all day long.
Yet, someone tells you it’s alright. It’s typical for this stage of life that we’re in. And suddenly you don’t mind so much.
I adore our new house. I love the split-level floor plan. Love how it’s spacious, yet still cozy. I can hear my kids chattering from any room. Natural light floods nearly every corner. Love that each wall is a blank slate, begging me to put my family’s unique stamp on it. Paint me. Pepper me with art, photos. Things that make you smile. Add more traces of you. Of “us.”
Yet I don’t feel at home in this house. Is that normal?
I catch myself thinking we’re just on vacation here. It’s a vacation rental. Maybe it’s the pool with the swim-up bar. Or the tile floors. Maybe it’s the king-size bed we bought. (I’ve never slept in one except on vacation.) Or the palm trees. Some of our neighbors actually drive golf carts and have putting greens in their yards. We have a pool guy. (That’s definitely not normal.)
People vacation here. We live here. And, after 5 months, I was thinking it’s not normal to feel like you’re still on vacation. I know a lot of people would love to have this problem—a perpetual holiday. What a privilege! But the flip side for me is homesickness, and not sleeping as well as you do in your own house in your own bed. Except there’s no other home to go to. No other bed.
I feel tired. And trapped.
Home for me is Colorado. It’s not the place I was born, or where I grew up. (though those places still hold meaning for me)…Yet, in a way, I did “grow up” there. I discovered who I was in the shadow of those mountains. Kris and I moved there together nearly 8 years ago, wide-eyed and newly engaged, and we both felt like we were arriving home. We put down roots quickly, got married in the foothills, and even convinced several of our dearest friends and family members to move to Colorado too.
A friend of mine who’s a therapist told me that it takes most people 18 months to adjust to a move. It’s normal to feel adrift for a while, she said. She told me stories of her own far-away moves and the process of finding her bearings. Upon hearing that, I exhaled. I didn’t even realize I’d been holding my breath. There was such a sense of relief in hearing I’m within the realm of normal.
Yet, still adrift. There’s a dark space ahead of me and I don’t know what will fill it.
I’m developing some great friendships in Arizona. Already, I can see that potential. New stories unfolding. There’s a gorgeous mountain preserve just footsteps from my house. That’s something.
But it’s not home. Not yet. Echoes of mountains, those other mountains, are ringing in my head. The people I call family are far away.
This is the “for now.” I won’t be changing poopy diapers for the rest of my life. And I won’t always be uprooted and thirsty for the comforts of home.
For now, I’ll keep writing and keep mothering and wife-ing and praying and working and dreaming. ‘Cause all of that feels very normal, no matter where I am.