As my wife and I bought a house, or rather a spot of earth and a promise to build our house, I could not help thinking how ordinary our life is. We have children who have gone through so much, but still much of their childhood is the same as every other kids. We may not do everything on the same time line as other families, but I believe we have as much joy and love. In the end, when I think about what my wife and I do for our children, I think maybe that is what it’s all about, giving them a chance for a life of chances to learn, feel and fail like everyone else.
With all the trials of healthcare our family deals, most of living is still dealing with the mundane. Taxes are done, the house is chosen, and we can continue the everyday task of learning a little more than we knew yesterday. The chess peaces are in place, and now we can continue to learn the beautiful game of chess as I try to teach my kids the way my grandpa taught me. It is just like life. We start by learning how the little things work, learning the strength of the pawns. There is plenty of time to learn the importance of moving the less ordinary peaces so they can take advantage of opportunity and protect all the smaller parts of our lives.
Our kids have the same fears of moving so many other kids have. It will mean a new school and some new neighbors. It will mean leaving the backyard they love with a swing set they have played on for hours at a time. Fears and anxieties of moving abound, and unfortunately they will remain until after our move, hopefully in September. I hope that they will realize many of their pawns are the same pawns, and the new ones move just like the old.
Some days and weeks are just ordinary from the anxiety of doing the taxes to the frustrations of trying to get children to sleep through the night. I am told there are children who sleep, and it is the midnight wakeful moments that are the exceptions for them. Still, as we struggle through deprived weeks, I tell myself each bleary-eyed morning, “There are millions of families who wish they got your sleep or could stop their morning for a second coffee to keep them alert. This tired feeling is normal, even down right ‘ordinary.’“ So what if coffee and soda are more than mere pawns in my defense?
Some times, I have to remind myself, the strongest part of the family life is not built upon dealing with the extraordinary. Life is made up of the everyday doings from walking the dogs to reading with our kids. Every now and then, somebody asks me, “Isn’t it hard to take care of medically fragile children?” When they do, I tell the truth. The hardest parts of raising our kids have nothing to do with their medical issues. The hardest parts are the same for every parent to whom I have talked. Much like in chess a good defense is made mostly from the pawns, the good family life seems to be made with the every day deeds, overcoming the every day, ordinary challenges…like learning how to change a diaper.