My daughter told me that she loves having dinner at her friends’ houses because she craves being around normal families.
She didn’t say this to be mean, and in fact, the moment she saw me wince, she said she was sorry and she hadn’t meant to hurt me.
I was immediately defensive, thinking these thoughts simultaneously:
- I’m trying!
- I suck.
- What’s a normal family anyway??
After she walked away, I sat with all that a bit.
First of all, yes, I have been trying these past few years to bring calm into our chaos. And right now, we have so much less crazy than we used to have. Our home is a place of peace. And we’re all grateful.
And yes, sometimes, I suck as a mom. But I sometimes sucked as a mom when I was married too. And I think all moms suck sometimes. (No offense.)
And lastly, no family is normal, and her small tastes of an hour here and there with random families aren’t the complete picture (though I am grateful that she is getting to experience different families and their rhythms and rituals).
But then I realized this: I get it. I totally get where she’s coming from. I, too, am a child of divorce. I, too, craved normalcy.
And when she meant she craves normal, she only means one thing really: a mother and a father, married, who love each other and treat each other well, living under the same roof.
And she doesn’t have that. And that’s what families are supposed to be. And so when things in life happen to us that aren’t “supposed to” happen, something feels off.
A child dying. Cancer invading. Church splits. Friendships ending. Divorces and broken families. These things aren’t supposed to happen, and so when they do, it feels not normal. And our hearts and souls were created in such a way as to long for what was supposed to be.
But we are fallen people living in a fallen world.
My daughter does not live in a “normal” family and that is partly my fault. And I have done some things really wrong the past few years but I have done some things really right too.
And so all I’ve got for her is all I’ve had for her this whole time: the hope that Jesus has her and her brother and will keep putting them back together and will transform them and will strengthen them and will hold them, especially in those moments when they’re craving normalcy and when things feel not as they should be. Babies, there’s no such thing as normal and I love you and Jesus is here.