Finding the Normal

Finding the Normal | Twin Cities Mom Collective

The most normal thing I’ve done today is clean the kitchen. Usually, I begrudgingly tackle the things that really can’t wait for tomorrow – put away the food, wipe the counters, and at least rinse the dishes. But not today. I cleaned it. And not only did I love doing it, I NEEDED to have something normal. Something easy. Something mundane. Something not tainted with that end-of-the-world feeling. Something normal.

Today I collected distance learning packets from my kids’ hauntingly vacant schools. Today I drove by empty parks where people would usually be celebrating the warmer weather. Today I drove by local businesses with no cars in their parking lots. Today I worked from home – more than my allotted hours – and still have an endless to-do list. Today I ignored my kids and put work before my family. Today was not a normal day.

Yes, today I have fought tears, prayed for my friends and family, said a blessing on those who are suddenly unemployed, and felt the sorrowful weight of a world in turmoil – not just our state or our country, but the world. And in a weird way, it helped me feel closer to humanity. Shared struggle has a way of unifying people, if you let it.

So, today I needed some “normal.” And who would have thought that a sink full of dishes could bring me such comfort? It’s almost laughable. But it’s these everyday tasks that remind me that there is hope. That one day, in the hopefully not-too-distant future, scraping the dried yogurt from the un-rinsed bowls will once again be an annoyance. And wiping crusty countertops will be a chore.

But today, I am thankful.

For kids whose biggest concern is what movie to watch next.
For a job that still needs me to “work” so I can have a paycheck.
For food to prepare and dirty my kitchen.
For loved ones to be concerned about.
For decision-makers who seek my best interest and work to protect me and others.
For prayer which helps me turn worry into faith, and fear into hope.

So I am looking for the beauty that those once-mundane things now bring. I am relishing the moments that feel “normal” and I’m pausing there – just for a moment – to take a deep breath in and let it out. And I believe that one day, I will once again find that I really hate doing the dishes.

Kelly Jo Flaa
Kelly Jo lives her life just how she writes, with lots of exclamation marks! Her Saint Paul home is filled with noise from her fantastic husband, Jon, and their four spicy kids, Owen (‘07), Evan (‘08), Kierstin (’10), and Calvin (’14). She loves her family, her faith, adventure, people, meaningful conversation, the world at large, laughing, and is always armed with a good hug waiting for someone who needs or wants it. She often drives a different way home just because and has more embarrassing stories than two lifetimes put together! She loves coffee, honesty and any reason to celebrate! When she is not building forts or reading books aloud as a mostly stay-at-home-mom, she can be found working part-time at her church.


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