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Our Story Begins: Transition to Normal


Our Story Begins:
Transition to Normal

I ran across this photo the other day.  It could be of any time in any kid’s life, I get that.

For me, though, it represents something a lot more than that.

This photo is from three years ago, maybe a hair more than that.  I made the kids go outside with me and start raking up the fall leaves in our back yard and start prepping for the change in the seasons.

This photo reflects a remarkable time in my life.  It marks a massive change or shift in the way things were in my life, too.  There are a couple people missing in that photo.  The first, and the one that defined a large part of our daily lives, is the kids’ mother, Andrea.  She passed away just a couple years before that photo.  The other missing person is my oldest daughter, Abbi.  She had gone off to college, one of the biggest events in any family’s life.

Related: Our Story Begins: Are You Raising Kind Kids?

What’s remarkable about the photo, which reflects my memory of the time, too, is just how normal it all seems.  Because . . . it was.  

By the time we had reached this point in our lives we have actually hit some of the very things I had worried so violently about in the months after Andrea had passed away.  There are simply things you just cannot imagine doing without the mother of your child present.

But by the time we’d gone into the back and I was laughingly taking this picture . . . we had faced a lot of things.

  • My oldest daughter had a boyfriend break up with her.
  • My middle daughter had her first period
  • My oldest went to prom
  • 8th grade and High School graduations . . . on the same day
  • Moving my daughter to college

All these things were simply unfathomable.  Yet . . . we did them.  By the time we’d taken the photo we’d resolved ourselves of the empty chair at the dinner table and eased into a routine that included taking on all the events, chores, and normalcy of the day.  We had certainly thought about the loss of my wife during these events but they never dominated them.

This picture . . . this time in our lives . . . this marked a defining change in our family.  My oldest daughter had moved into the stages leading to her being an adult.  So has my middle daughter.  I have twin boys that are now almost my height and going through puberty.

I never thought twice about another person, I was married.  “For better or for worse” were the words in that vow and I followed them through.  Yet it was in this time I began to realize that the vow, the contract itself, was now complete.  “Til’ death do us part.”  I have been dating someone quite spectacular now for quite awhile.  I have to face that, no, in my lifetime the idea of 40th or 50th anniversaries aren’t likely.  Yet . . . without the loss of my wife or the change in her life we’d never have met each other.  That gives me so much joy to know that something like my relationship comes from something that seemed so bleak.

This time, that photo, our entire home changed in one of those shifts in our lives.  That snapshot in time is one of those moments that’s truly reflective of what’s there.


And we’re living it.

What about you? Have you experienced something that caused you to have to “transition to normal” in some way? Leave a comment!

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