Monday, March 26, 2012

The beauty of "normal"

I like "exciting" and "unusual" and "challenging." I've never been a big fan of "normal." But as my life progresses and I've done tons of exciting, unusual and challenging things (both in my home and in the larger world), I'm starting to love and appreciate "normal" a lot more.

After all the hoopla of Australia, this past weekend was a wonderful kind of normal. We had a family game night Friday night (our favorite game lately is "New World Carcassone" - it moves along at a snappy pace and even the twins are quite good at it). We enjoyed the gorgeous weather on Saturday by walking down town to get treats at Great Harvest and then working on our backyard together. The kids played with neighbor kids in the backyard and worked on building a fort together while Jared and I chatted with the neighbor kids' parents - nothing planned, it just sort of happened that way. Eliza and I made pizza for dinner and everyone was excited (don't be too impressed - I just get pre-made dough, stretch it out and slap some toppings on there). After the kids were in bed, I did a thorough detail cleaning on our poor neglected vacuum (I realized that maybe the reason it doesn't seem as powerful as it used to seem is because there are parts that are supposed to be cleaned out every 3 months - and I haven't cleaned those parts in the 18 months since we bought the vacuum...) while Jared finished replacing a rotted part on the front porch. Then we watched two episodes of Downton Abbey (I'm loving this show - Jared mocks my interest in British costume dramas but they just make me happy!) Jared fell asleep while watching but hey, I often fall asleep when I try to watch basketball games with him - I'm glad we support each other's viewing interests even if sometimes we do it in our sleep!

And all last week was quite pleasingly "normal." It was so great to be home with Jared and the kids. We had a nice little "honeymoon period" of a few days right when Ashton and I got home - everyone was extra kind to each other and I was just so happy to be back with the people I love most in the home I hold dear. I was extra patient and loving. And Ashton was extra kind to the siblings he's struggled with - he seemed to appreciate them more after being away from them.

But then good old reality hit again. I had a hard time waking up in the mornings (I always do but this past week was extra hard thanks to jet lag) and we were late to school a couple times. My resolution about being more on top of things so that I wouldn't be saying "hurry" all the time in the mornings wasn't upheld. And with all the stuff I needed to catch up on after being gone almost two weeks, it was hard to keep my resolution to not do any Power of Moms work while the kids were home and to get to bed on time.

Then the special Australian meal of roasted butternut squash, pine nuts, and feta-topped salad (one of my favorite things we had in Australia) didn't turn out at all. I ran to pick up kids at swimming, leaving Ashton with instructions about when to take the squash which I'd carefully cut up and coated with basalmic vinegar and olive oil out of the oven. But my instructions proved to be sadly inadequate. I came home to totally burned squash. And as I scrambled to adjust the menu and everyone was hungry and whiny, Silas dropped and broke a plate and Oliver dropped and broke a glass while setting the table, Eliza wanted to tell me every detail about her upcoming dance performance, Ashton was mad that I was disappointed about the burned squash, and Isaac was trying to explain every reason why he should be allowed to quit swim team. Mostly, I was pretty kind and patient during that crazy 1/2 hour period (have to pat myself on the back for that...). I just took note in my head of the craziness swirling around me so I could blog about this "normal" evening and remember the hard stuff along with the good.

So I'm back in the thick of things - and I'll take the "normal" of sweet hugs, calm evenings, and  a pleasant laid-back weekend alongside the "normal" of rushing to school, dealing with messed up meals, and trying to be patient with kids who need mutually exclusive things simultaneously.

I love this quote my sister Saydi shared on her blog:
“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ― Mary Jean Iron


Felicity said...

we have probably all had our days of post-retreat let down syndrome by now :) and I am with you on not being a lover of the mornings :) BUT I am trying to adapt one of the many things I took away from the Retreat - to "wake up excited and go to bed content"!! (It's working some days....haha!)

The salad you mentioned is also one of my favourites too - but I use macadamia nuts (slightly fried) instead of pine nuts and I LOVE it!!! I made pumpkin soup the other day and thought about you and our conversation on the way to the airport!!


ps) I love the quote you shared too!

shawni said...

This is SOOOOO beautifully put, Sar. I love those normal days and appreciate them so much more than ever these days too. Sure love you.


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