After the ‘Crazy Years’ of doctors, medications, trips across the country, and plenty of hospital visits, things seemed to slow down. I’m not sure what caused it… we may have just exhausted all the medical options available! But for a few years, there seemed to be less rushing, less hospitals, etc.

I think it was around 2004 that things seemed to change.  Alyssa went to the neurologist for checkups, not necessarily for new treatments. Our family jumped into politics (just helping out, not running for anything!), primarily due to my interest in learning as much about politics as I could. I left for college, then came back home to finish my undergrad. My mom purchased a business and started running her own fitness center, which I managed for a little while.  Alyssa started high school. The “little kids” (two siblings who are several years younger than us “older kids”) started growing up, going to school, playing basketball, etc.

It was still plenty crazy… but this was a more ‘normal’ crazy.

Which makes me wonder… what exactly is normal? Who defines what makes something more socially acceptable than otherwise? Do we all really want to be normal? Seems like it would be awfully boring if we were all normal all the time. (Okay, ending philosophical sidenote here).

In the last few years, things have (of course) changed again. My family moved to Colorado so Alyssa could go to an awesome school there. There are lots of great opportunities for Alyssa in Colorado (educational, medical, and occupational), so we started a new kind of normal, with bi-weekly trips down the mountain to Denver, workshops to learn about job opportunities for Alyssa, etc. In 2010, I moved to Texas for a job. In June 2011, Alyssa graduated from high school!

So this is our story.  I’m sure it will change again and ‘normal’ will once again mean something different. But I’m starting to realize how true it is that “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” (Epictetus) And with Alyssa to provide great perspective and family and friends to support us in the hard times, I am sure that I will continually be challenged to react to whatever life hands me with an extra measure of grace, love, and patience.