There is a part of the new normal that I can live with and even enjoy. In which I am. . . at peace.
(Several weeks ago)
The four of us have been sitting around all morning, bored and bothering each other. Thunderstorms are forecast, and no one has any good ideas for a rainy-day activity.
Me: "Get dressed and get in the car. We're going to Fox's for dinner. We can eat lobster while watching the lightning crash into the ocean."
Daughter: "You seriously want to go the beach in the rain. Mom, are you nuts?"
Son: "I love lobster!"
Husband: "Whatever your mother says. Let's go."
Two hours later we arrive at the beach to sunny skies. It doesn't rain or thunder or lightning, which believe it or not, does not put a damper on the day. Some highlights:
- At dinner, son uses lobster claw to poke at older sister. Sister first looks around in horrified embarrassment -- is anyone seeing her 18-year-old brother act like an 8-year-old? -- then eventually gives into her brother's childish charm. And giggles.
- The four of us laughing, just laughing, together.
- At the beach, son takes off his jeans to put on shorts. Right out in the open for all to see his fluorescent yellow SpongeBob Square Pants boxers. Not a care in the world. Daughter turns away, pretending not to know him -- but in a laughing, I-love-him-anyway kind of way.
Today we are just a regular family enjoying an afternoon in Maine. My son is still cognitively impaired, but within the family unit, he belongs. He is happy. He is at peace. And therefore, so am I.
"Mom, will you give me a ride to Grafton?"
"I don't know. Let me think about it."
"If I say I'll go to the White Mountains with you guys next weekend, then will you drive me?"
Ohmigod. Is it really this easy? We've been asking him to go for weeks, and he keeps saying no.
"Absolutely. It's a deal."
I smile as I grab my keys and hop into the car. I am driving my son to a complete stranger's house, and as my husband says, "We know this will end badly." But I can live with that, because next weekend, the four of us are taking a trip. Together.
I book our vacation plans and expect that for most people, going Zip Lining would be the highlight. But we live in a new normal, and when that normal is okay, it is its own highlight.
Next weekend we will just be a regular family enjoying a few days in New Hampshire together. My son will still be cognitively impaired, but within the family unit, he will belong. He will be happy. He will be at peace. And therefore, so will I.
Wait a sec -- did I just say I signed myself up to go Zip Lining?! To echo the words of my extremely wise daughter, I must be nuts.