Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You have arrived at your destination.

Welcome to Norming. 

I'll be honest, there were days I never thought I would get here. I mean arriving in the land of Norming seemed as far away as my dream of going to Hawaii or getting to use the bathroom in peace, both equally impossible at this juncture in my life.

But one day a few weeks ago I woke up and thought wow, I think I might be there. I think it might be time to unpack my bags and settle in and stay awhile.

And for those of you who are confused, you may want to go back and read my post from that awful day in June To Publish or Not to Publish; the one where I ended up looking super cool laying on the floor of a hotel gym with my eyes swelled shut from crying. You may remember me discussing the four emotional stages one is likely to go through when getting the news that your child has special needs. Stages like mourning, storming, performing, and finally, oh finally, norming.

And I did each stage. Multiple times. Honestly, I think my husband tried to cheat and skip a few, but we decided that I traveled through each stage enough for the both of us. I cried and gnashed my teeth. I (and I'm really not proud to admit this) resented other families with "typical" two year old's. I cried for the struggles Owen has now and will continue to have in the future. I got angry with God. (In fact, we had to take a time out for awhile. And thankfully that doesn't mean I stopped believing in Him and His power. I made sure He still heard about Owen, just not through me. It was the kind of timeout where you text a friend and say something really mature like "Hey, could you pray for Owen for me? I'm not talking to God right now." And the friend would write something back like "yup, got you covered" because she understood that I needed to be angry and I would come out the other side of it feeling even closer to Him. And I did.) I did the storming and the researching and the googling and the trips to the special needs section at the library and the educating. I did the performing. I called multiple doctors and therapists and schools and we have a kick-butt team now. Everybody is working together and my lil' man is making some serious progress and it feels good. But acceptance feels even better than his progress. Acceptance that progress for Owen looks a lot different than progress for another child and that is perfectly okay. Acceptance that one day he will be feeding himself and using the potty, but it might not be one day soon. Acceptance that one day he may go to a birthday party and play with the other kids there, but it might not be one day soon. Acceptance that other two year old's may be more verbal and may not be obsessed with spoons and may be more "typical" but every kid is special. And my Owen? He's special in a way that makes him who he is. And I love who he is. And God knit him together in my womb and I don't think he messed up one teeny-tiny little bit. 

So am I in Norming? 

I think so, peoples. I think I've learned that norming doesn't mean I never have a moment of grief or that I never read another article or question a doctor. I think Norming means knowing this is life now and coming to love it despite its difficulties. I think Norming includes occasional fears about the future, but overall, greeting each day with hope and trust.

So we're going to unpack our bags and stay awhile in the land of Norming. We're going to continue praying and brushing and wrapping and feeding and medicating and researching and knowing that, despite all the "atypical," this life that Owen leads is going to be a great one. 

We accept.

We hope.

We norm. 

And dang it feels good.

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope."
Maya Angelou  


  1. Right back at ya, Emily!! I am in awe of what you do every day. :)

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  3. My sweet, sweet Owen! What a hero he is....courageous w/out knowing it, loving w/out asking for anything in return, and always (as are all my grandkids) remarkable. I am praising God for the hard work he has put in w/all the medical folks, the therapists, the teachers, and his parents to be the sweet, thriving, REMARKABLE little boy he is!!!! I know his sweet and loving mom is one of the biggest advocates and factors in his development and independence......let the norming continue :D

  4. other size is much sweeter, not that anything has changed, but that you have realized how much you have learned and what a better person you are. i believe people with big trials are the people who are strong.

  5. Owen is a remarkable little angel. He has great love and talents to share with the rest of us. But, one primary reason he is doing remarkably is the commitment and love he receives from his family. Prayers are answered that you have all moved into the norming stage! Enjoy! We love you!

  6. Wait one second...should we not be obsessed with spoons? When did that become not cool? I love spoons. I mean, have you ever tried to eat ice cream with a fork? (Ok, that's not really fair, because I have done that...) What about cereal? or Yogurt? And let's be honest here, ice cream, cereal, and yogurt can make up a complete diet, as far as I'm concerned. How did I get here? I'm so confused.

    -Sorry about the digression...Owen is doing great and I'm very impressed with the grace under which you all have handled your challenges. Very inspiring...promise!

  7. Owen is such a cute boy-- and Will thinks he has great taste in pajamas. Whatever the challenges, I know that Owen is a blessing and he is blessed. He will grow up knowing that whatever happens, his mom has his back.

  8. Oh, my gosh, Rachel, I just love you so much! Thanks for your honesty. I am thankful, too, that we have a God who loves us dearly even when we take a time out from Him! Owen is one blessed boy to have you and Todd for parents.

  9. acceptance is so hard. matthew was diagnosed over 2 years ago and i still struggle with it.