Next door, my neighbor is in labor for her first child. Her family is gathered. Parents and a sibling have been staying with them all week, fully expecting to help care for her and her newborn by now. But she is overdue. And so they wait. The father-to-be remains amazingly calm given his wife’s obvious discomfort and living with in-laws watching her every move with him for days. His folks will arrive next week after her parents have gone home. They are on the brink of a new normal, that’s for sure. As riders of an 18-year (at least) roller coaster journey which is both thrilling and terrifying, but definitely with a force of it’s own. And their transition will be ushered in under the company of many who love them, a network of support.
Meanwhile, we are also preparing for a new normal as we edge toward expanding our family. Our daughter’s wedding is less than a month away. Instead of a completely dependent infant, we are gaining a son-in-law who already brings us much joy with his humor and positive attitude toward life. His commitment to love our daughter for life, to stand by her, to respect and protect her will strengthen her support system. We are on the opposite side of parenting from our neighbors. We are letting go and leaning into the significant role others play in our child’s life. We’ve gone from being the head coach to sitting in the bleachers and cheering loudly. Balancing the role of supportive but not suffocating. Interested but not annoying. It’s a change and foreshadows more to come. And while we wait for the day we can usher in this transition formally, we too have many friends and family gathering to support and celebrate with us the big day. I am grateful for that and looking forward to the next normal for us.