Redefining What's 'Normal'

Well, this is it.  My last official day of maternity leave.  My last day before heading back to work.  Tomorrow morning, my alarm will sound at 5:30 am, reminding me that my mornings of sweat pants and rocking Cruz while Hoda and Kathie Lee plays in the background are over.  Well, at least until Spring Break ;).

I have been so blessed to have been able to stay home with Cruz for 13 weeks.  So blessed to have a supportive husband that knew his control-freak wife needed some much needed downtime to find some control in this new role.  Life has been so good lately that it's hard to imagine it changing.  I am so thankful that my mom and grandma are going to help 'transition' me into daycare this week by coming to stay with Cruz.  I really can't imagine dropping him off at daycare quite yet.  Right now, I'm taking baby steps, and getting myself to work on time is step one. 

At church this morning, Dave Bartlett began a sermon series called 'Redefining Normal.'  It focuses primarily on how to love our families and build homes that create responsible and growing people.  As he talked today about learning to go with the flow when our idea of 'normal' is altered, I think he was talking directly to me.  It still amazes me how sermons can do that.  He talked about hope as a source of energy.  Hope to keep us going when the waters get a little rough.  Hope to gain new perspective when we feel cheated or challenged.  Hope to empower us to work hard and stay positive, whether I'm at school teaching 10th graders how to write an essay, or at home, grading those essays while trying to play with my baby.  

Dave also talked about our weaknesses.  Everyone has weaknesses, times when they lose hope or lose the sense of 'normalcy' in life.  For me, this is the weakness I will soon run into when I'm caught in the middle of the 'weekend web,' and feel pulled in a million directions.  The laundry won't be done, the house will be a mess, and I'll have 35 emails to respond to before Monday.  Groceries will need to be purchased, papers will need to be checked, and a baby will need a bath.  I know I will run into times when I feel weakness at managing life as a mother, a wife, and a teacher.  But, as Dave reminded me today, these are the times when we look beyond ourselves for power.  These are the times when I will remind myself of 2 Corinthians 12:9: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest in me.  Weakness makes us stronger...stronger in our faith in Christ. 

Finally, when all else fails and our 'weakness' begins to get the best of us, this is when we play.  Dave told the story about reflooring his bathroom, growing frustrated at the fact that home improvement projects never go as easy as planned.  After pulling up more than seven layers of pre-existing tile and wanting to kick the sink in during the process, he noticed his seven-year-old grandson staring at him, absorbing every sign of his growing frustration.  Dave looked at his grandson, threw his Wonder Bar to the floor and said, "Charlie, let's go play."  When life gets frustrating and our emotions get the best of us, this is when we play.  Put the pen down, shut the computer screen, and let go.  Play.  

That's it.  It's about hope, it's about play, and it's about power in Christ.  I'm ready to see my students, ready to reconnect with other teachers, and ready to dive back into the profession I love.  And I'm ready to play hard when I get home, to love that baby up, and to not sweat the small stuff in this little life.  Our normal is indeed about to change, but it's about making our new 'normal' better than before.

This weekend has been filled with lots of play, lots of pictures, and lots of attempts to slow down time.  We played Bobby Darin's 'Splish Splash,' during Cruz's bath.  We let Cruz snuggle and fall asleep in our bed before putting him in his crib.  I 'slept' on the couch with him instead of putting him back in his crib in the morning.  We read lots of books, explored new toys, and had lots of family time.  Beau and I had our first 'date night' since October, and spent it at Sakura, and I took an insane amount of pictures this week.  Pictures of Cruz sitting up, lying down, on his belly, and on his side.  Pictures with monkeys, pictures with puppies, pictures with gators, and pictures with hippos.  One thing that will be able to rest when I head back to work is my memory card! 

Tomorrow is the big day.  Wish us luck for a good night's sleep and a strong cup of coffee in the morning!