Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Being Normal

I've been thinking lately that the longer I live in Idaho and the more kids I have, the more ordinary my life is becoming. The longer time goes by, the fewer things in my life change and the more invisible and unnotable I feel. I had always imagined myself living in large cities as I had as a child, moving from adventure to adventure and living a much more glamorous life style. I never imagined that my days would be so routine living in a mostly unknown suburban American town, day after day, with so little variation.

But the most surprising thing about my revelation of my ordinary life is how okay I am with it. Not just okay, but how much I am learning to revel in it. As a kid, we were always the newcomers that stood out like a sore thumb, drawing attention everywhere we went. We always seemed to be somewhat stumbling around trying to find our way around the new places we lived- always in explorer mode. We were the perpetual new kids or visitors, whether we were in a foreign country or in the U.S.

I love the fact that when I go to the grocery store I almost always run into people I know. I love the network of friends that I've developed and that my kids know the other children that live in our neighborhood. I love that I don't have to keep in the back of my mind that in a year or two I'm going to have to say goodbye to my dear friends, most likely to never see them again. I love Camden's school, my trips to the gym, the girls-nights-out, the fact that I'm discovering hidden treasures in the community and the realization that 5 years from now, there's a good chance my life won't be much different than it is today. I never thought stability and normalcy would be so comforting.

Of course there are things I desperately miss about my childhood. I loved being in the Southern Hemisphere during the cold winter months of the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa during our trips to the U.S. in June and July. I miss the abundance of tree-ripened fruit. I miss our frequent family vacations to exciting beaches, resorts and ruins. I miss the dancing and the music of the Latin culture. Those are the things I long for on the blustery, rainy spring days like today.

It has been liberating to find enough joy and satisfaction in the simple and uneventful things in life like Luke crawling into bed with me at 6:30am, a long run on a summer evening, a good book, planting new trees in our backyard that I know I will be around long enough to enjoy them as they mature, and realizing that the walls of our house are the only home my children have ever known. It has been wonderful to not always be looking around the corner for something bigger and better than what I have now. As Dennis can attest, I still get restless and anxious for change at times, but as I've told him, I hope someday that my need for change will be satisfied with a new pair of shoes rather than moving to a new country.

I struggle knowing how to make my childhood experiences relevant and pertinent to my life now. I believe everyone should make their childhood experiences and their parent's sacrifices a part of their lives in some significant way. The trick is knowing how to do it while living in the moment without always keep one foot in the past. I have yet to discover that. Sometimes I feel like they are so distant and different that I wonder how they could possibly make a difference in who I am today. But I am determined to find that link.

Sometimes as I look at my brother's blog who lives overseas with his family, I think how I wish trips to Jerusalem, Roman ruins, and a child's baptism at the Sea of Galilee were what I journaled about and what my children's memories were made of instead of crazy trips to Costco. But then I realize that this is my life and it has been given to me on a silver platter. Life as I know it now is happier and more fulfilling than I could have ever planned or imagined. As a kid I certainly wouldn't have sketched this out as my life plan but it's a good thing the Lord knows me better than I know myself. And boy, does He.


Cher said...

cute post.
i think your past is totally a part of who you are. you have a broader picture of the world than a lot of your neighbors, making you less judgmental. and you can pass on the culture and language and love of latin music to your kids still, even if you still live in idaho. :)
which brother is living abroad?

Percy said...

Great insights. There is something wonderful about being ordinary. And in a way there is nothing ordinary about finding the love of your life, having beautiful children that light up your life, a comfortable artsy home. I and much of society struggle with visions of great adventures and timeless accomplishments, while being satisfied with routine jobs, roles, and common tasks. These two pulls will always be with us.