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How I Embraced Our New 'Normal' After My Daughter's Diagnosis

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We live a pretty hectic day-to-day life like most families: racing to the bus in the morning, running to evening soccer practices, homework, making time for each other, running a not-for-profit and the occasional revolving door of my husband getting home from work and me leaving for my second job — an evening part-time gig one to three nights a week. It is what it is when you’re a family of five, but that’s only half of what has become the rest of our “normal”… whatever that means.

I remember back to when Olivia was a year old and we were fully immersed into a life that was dictated by weekly appointments that consisted of meetings with her pediatrician and developmental team, sessions with her physio and occupational therapists, house visits with her early intervention worker and the middle of the night hospital visits that happened all too often in that first year. The list literally goes on, and on top of it all, trying desperately to maintain a sense of normalcy for our two older children so that their lives didn’t become engulfed by our worries or this new medically facilitated lifestyle. Life seemed chaotic despite the daily calendar I lived by, and the feeling of spinning out of control consumed me. It was like my body was suspended in air and I was desperately grasping at something to hold on to.

It took some time, but eventually the staggering amount of appointments just became what we did to give Olivia the best shot at a happy life. Her brother and sister grew to love being the tag-alongs to each session because it usually meant a popsicle was in it for them, or the chance to play on the mini trampoline in the rehab clinic.

We built a village of support through friendships with other families moving through similar journeys. The wisdom and advice gained lifted me up higher than I could have ever imagined.

The feelings and fears I had eventually evaporated and a new sense of understanding emerged.

The notion of ever having control is an illusion — I see that now. Because life is chaos: beautifully random and ever changing. It took me a long time to learn this and to hold it fiercely within. The combination of never knowing what the future holds (and how terrifying that used to be for me), to living in today and having a deep appreciation for those moments we often take for granted got me here.

Control… normal… it’s an illusion.

There is no handbook or list of “7 Ways To Achieve Your Normal.” Embrace your chaos, find beauty in change, enjoy today and make memories now.

Originally published: May 23, 2018
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