We used to be normal. The kind of normal who fought over Matt getting home late from practice and fought over the rude way that I told him he was late. The kind of normal who saved him a hot plate of dinner anyway and shared all the day’s details over late-night whispers while one of us rocked our 17-month-old to sleep. The kind of normal who jotted two lists of names: one for a boy and one for a girl, dreaming about who the little Lane growing slowly in my womb would be. The kind of normal who only outwardly cared about hurting people and yet still claimed we knew what life was about. The kind of normal anyone is before normal collects in dust piles in a vacant home while you pay monthly rent to the Ronald McDonald House a thousand miles away.
We are not that kind of normal anymore. This year my newsfeed is filled with more than plexus, advocare, and pink-cheeked newborns. It’s a mangled mess of purple-lipped little ones wrapped in wires, dressed in bandages, laced with stitches, breathing through tubes. It’s filled with pleas for prayers or positive thoughts or warm vibes or ANYTHING that please might help save our baby in some way when another family gets news that can’t get worse in a day that can’t get longer.
This year, we are the kind of normal who doesn’t know if we have tomorrow. The kind of normal who knows what it means to believe in God when there’s nothing left to believe in. The kind of normal who wonders if our baby’s heart can endure her 20-minute carseat protest on the way home from Bible study. The kind of normal who honestly doesn’t know.
Even though our old normal is less than a year old, it seems as though it’s only something lived in a vague cousin to a memory. It’s so distant that it couldn’t possibly be a life we ever had. And our new normal is still so uncomfortable, I question how I’ve put the past so many miles away. While every day in some way I wish that I could erase all that’s happened, I’d really never want to go back to the day before the diagnosis.
Because that old normal didn’t have this sweet-spirited, smiling, bubbling, laughing, standing, kissing, snuggling, hugging baby in my arms.
Those were arms that ached for normal, but didn’t know how much better Annie would be.