Normal is a word I don’t really like to use, but it’s hard to avoid. What is normal, anyway? The best definition I’ve heard is “a setting on your washing machine”.
Normal is an agreed upon narrative that we often aspire to, but that doesn’t really exist. It makes us feel safe — like we’re on the right track. We know what we “should” want for ourselves and our families. We know what “should” be next. We all seem to have an innate understanding of what’s normal and what’s not. And yet, when this collective agreement breaks down to the individuals who make up its parts, none of us are “normal”.
Why do we strive for this, when we’re all so different? Finding our own paths is harder than following the “normal” one.
I’ve had moments where I’ve wished we had a more normal experience with our first child. One with the normal milestones. And the normal challenges… which is actually pretty hilarious because there’s NO SUCH THING.
Our life is OUR normal, and that’s how it’s been feeling lately. I’m happy to say I’ve gone a few days at a time when the word “aniridia” doesn’t pop into my head. When Ruby was first diagnosed, I thought about it at some point every single day. Now, when it does come up, I don’t overthink it or wish it away. Ruby is Ruby and I’m her mom, and we do all the “normal things” babies and moms do together. Day by day she reveals new little awesome things about her personality. My love for her uniqueness just builds and builds.
This weekend we went camping in Tobermory. I was nervous that being outside all day would be too much for Ruby to handle, and that the sunlight would get to her. We could’ve let that stop us and stayed home. But that’s not fair to her, or us.
Surprise surprise, nervous mommy — she was great! She wore her sunnies and hat and was the definition of a “happy little camper”. Not going to lie, the car rides weren’t fun for me or her auntie stuffed in the back seat for over four hours, but that’s a baby for you. Camping was a big part of our lives growing up, and it will be for her too.
Today, I’m grateful for all the amazing things in our lives — our friends, our families, our home, and especially thankful for our beautiful country. Being thankful for the life we have makes me much happier than longing for fiction.
PS. An update on Roo’s progress — at our last exam, we learned that her eye pressure has decreased significantly since her surgery! It’s now in the healthy range! Whoop! We’re still monitoring as she transitions off some of her medications, and are feeling optimistic!