What is normal?
I often think that why can’t my life be normal, where did things go wrong?
I don’t talk much about my older children but they had a fairly normal younger childhood, their older years where a little different with me splitting from their dad and lots of other horrible stuff going on. They grew up with my friends two children who are almost exactly the same age as them. When my friends lad’s hit the teenage years they went off the rails a bit, drinking, joining gangs, getting into trouble. I was so grateful that my kids were not like that, I felt lucky. Now, those boys are settled with babies and living a fairly normal life. It’s not the same for my kids, My daughter has a really good job and works longs hours, I guess it’s okay these days to not be settled with kids by the time you reach thirty so I’m not so bothered. My son however, is very different. He’s different anyway and he can’t help that but I do worry that his life is not normal. I talked to others that were like him and the biggest advice they gave me was to leave him alone. He’s dealing with life the way he knows how and if I interfere I could make him really unhappy. So his normal is his happy. If he doesn’t seem happy I will step in, but otherwise I have to accept it.
Life is not normal for my younger children who are having to grow up with a disabled mum. I went into school just before Christmas for a workshop with my Little Man, he introduced me to his class “This is my mum, she’s disabled.”
Why can’t I be normal, why can’t I be like the other mums?
I know it’s tough for them, they are no strangers to hospitals, they have to deal with me being in a wheelchair, they know I can’t do the things I used to do. They do not have a normal life.
Or do they? I can still play with them, read with them, make things with them and we still all bake together. I can still do normal things and I try to do them as often as I can. We still go out to places, eat out, go to the park. It may take a little more planning but we still do it.
Then there is Star! She also has disabilities and we have to deal with them as a family. Again, no strangers to hospitals! The school she goes to is fantastic, they have ways of dealing with the anxieties of children like Star without singling them out as different. They try to make school normal for them. And most of the time it works, Star is happy at school. Not all the time, but mostly, which is like most kids anyway isn’t it? It’s normal.
We live in house where we have to keep the noise down, unless there is a tantrum going off. We have arguments, we have things that are really not nice to deal with, but we get on with it. Sometimes we feel like we are living under a time bomb and when it goes off everything goes crazy. Sometimes we feel normal like any other family. We learn to adapt and cope with the idiosyncrasies of our family. Sometimes it feels like there are too many people in our house, sometimes it feels good to be a big family.
Are we normal? We have a lot to deal with, it can be really difficult but we do it. No two families are the same, everyone is different, it doesn’t make one family more normal than any other. We are all human.