This morning, I made oatmeal and stirred in just the right amount of honey. I pulled curly blonde hair back into a braid and tucked in the requested sparkly bow. I nursed Ada, I slipped on some pants, I kissed Jason. I changed a diaper, I sipped scaldingly hot coffee, I dropped Charlie off at preschool and gave Jason a ride to work. It was a normal morning.
The date on my phone reminded me what today is: today marks a year. One year since that first morning back in our house after the addition. That morning, all I wanted was normal.
Last summer was anything but normal. Jason got the call that he and his team were laid off in June, right when we broke ground on our ambitious home addition. The next six months were harder than we could have imagined they'd be. At night, I'd toss with restless anxiety and pregnancy aches while Jason lay awake next to me, too sore from 12-hour days of physical work on our house to sleep. Those six months tested us in ways we didn't anticipate.
Strangely, those six months are still something I struggle to write about. Yes, me: the chick who started babbling about everything as a baby and hasn't shut up since. I somehow don't have the vernacular to describe that it was hard and refining, important and stretching. I don't know how to tell you how scared I was, and yet how sure that around every corner was safety and normalcy again. And that safety and normalcy were around the corner, it just turned out to be the very, very last corner we turned.
Our home was liveable (though without countertops, an oven, electricity, siding, and many other things) only four days before Ada was born. Jason got three job offers—finally—the second week of December, the week that the mailman delivered our last severance check.
The only way I can describe it is: manna. Give us this day our daily bread—none leftover from yesterday, none for tomorrow, just enough. Enough for today.
Now, a year later, I'm free to feel grateful for the gift of normal. We're still living on a manna paradigm; we're still recovering financially from the lay-off and the expenses of adding on. The house isn't finished (but are houses ever finished?). There are still plenty of day-to-day struggles and worries. But this morning was so deliciously normal, and it feels important to mark it.