Sometimes normal is just normal

I've noticed a lot of friends on Facebook and in day-to-day life ponder if their child's behavior is normal. (Maybe because sometimes our threenager's behavior is so awful we want to believe it must be a possession, complete with a need for a Linda Blair level exorcism?!) We all want to make sure we're doing the right thing, but also that our kid is, as the docs might say, WNL (within normal limits). Even after 5 kids, I still struggle with making sure everyone is ok, doing the right thing, and within normal limits. 

The same is true for marriage and relationships. But things are also a little different. Children grow, they change. In some ways, so does your marriage. Who you and your significant other were when you set out on this journey has, most certainly, for better or worse, changed. 

For example, when my husband and I met 15 years ago, I was 19 and he was 25. Both of us had not graduated from college, we had no children, all of our parents were still alive, etc. etc. over the course of our relationship, we have both grown and aged as people separate of our relationship and within our relationship, but so has the relationship. We have friends we've made as a couple, friends we had before our relationship, whom we now share and experiences we share that have changed our relationship, for good and for not so good. 

Ultimately, what I'm getting at is that after 5 kids and 15 years of marriage, what I know to be normal is a bit wild and crazy, but it seems to be normal for everyone. Teenagers will talk back, test boundaries, speak more for themselves, slam doors, help with more chores, develop their independence, smell bad, among other things. Smaller people will need to be reminded of boundaries, safety and appropriate coloring surfaces, convinced that it's ok to go to bed first, not watch EVERY SINGLE CARTOON EVERY MADE IN INE SITTING, and that sometimes we have to keep our shoes on. Marriages will be stressful, wonderful, easy, hard, emotional journeys. 

All of this is what makes life worth living. It's a great beautiful world and though my husband and children sometimes (often) help me have more stress in my life than I would alone, they make each day richer. 

So, if you're life feels like your constantly being pulled and you feel like it's a struggle. Please, hang in and hold on. You're not alone. We all feel it. Let your wall down and ask for help, or go to bed with a book and a sink of dishes. It may not seem like it right now, but you're worth the extra 5 minutes. 

I promise, you're doing great and I'm proud of you. 

A mural in downtown Memphis, with the right message. 

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