“Normalcy” Feels Very Strange

A girl from the other end of the street just knocked on our door, and asked if Riley could come over. Riley slipped on her shoes, grabbed her brother, and off they went.

It didn’t occur to her to go without Seth. It didn’t occur to Seth not to go. It didn’t occur to me this moment would ever happen. The one where I say, “Sure, you two run along. Have fun!” The one where I come back to my empty living room, sit down and just listen to the quiet for a second.

Is this what people do? They let their kids just trot off down the street and go play? She will be eleven in two days and it’s not happened before. We’ve never had this luxury. Play dates have been few and far between and they’ve required a lot of pre-paving. But somehow she is ready. She can do this now. I feel it, and so does she.

I e-mailed Todd:

Our children just walked down the street with ____, like it’s nothing. She came to the door and asked if they could come over. I asked if her mom knew she was asking, she said yes. Off they went. I don’t know what to do with myself.

He zipped back:

Just sit and bask in the normalcy of it. You are an amazing mother and only through you is this moment possible. I love you.




Wandering around aimlessly, confusing the dogs.

A big old lump rests in my throat and my heart swells with appreciation for Todd, for Seth, and for my sweet Riley, who is really growing up.

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18 Responses to “Normalcy” Feels Very Strange

  1. Kirsten says:

    You’ve earned this. So has she. Enjoy. xo

  2. Jackie says:

    Todd is right you are an amazing amazing mama to those kiddos, and were chosen for them for a reason the way you instill confidence in her is incredible- I love reading what you write and about your life in general! Hugs to the growing up and I am sure in no time you will find something to do with your free time!

  3. Lydia says:

    She even LOOKS way grown up these last few months!

  4. Dawn says:

    Your angel has her wings. Congratulations to you both!

  5. Joy says:

    That is just awesome news. i’m so thrilled for you and her both. 🙂

  6. Kathy Sullivan says:

    My heart was swelling (on your behalf) in appreciation of Todd also. What a sweet loving person.

  7. Chris says:

    Whoa Michelle… how wonderful….. It’s like everyone’s work paid off….. I LOVE Todd’s email…. What a family!!!!

  8. Heather says:

    Speaking of “evidence of good parenting…” ;o) Yay O’Neils-every last one of ya! Job well done.

  9. Meg says:

    Normal is so very awesome.

  10. camille says:

    I know this feeling. Sam now has a neighborhood friend and can’t get out the door fast enough when he comes over. Still waiting for the confidence to go get his friend. And he now has a “gang” of friends at school. The day he ran to catch up with his friends and left me in the dust my heart leapt and I cried tears of joy. Yay for all of you!

  11. Amanda says:

    YAY!! 😀

    and just a tiny bit jealous….

  12. Courtney says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY RILEY!!!!!!!!!!! (You know what would be a great present for her, Michelle? A trip to NY ….)

  13. Oh, my word. That is completely and totally awe-inspiring. You go, girl, with all that freedom. (Both of you.)

  14. Niksmom says:

    Kvelling and leaking from the eyes here. What a joyous development. And, Todd’s email? *sigh* You do know that you are doing so very many things divinely right, yes?

  15. rhemashope says:

    i love your family. you are such gifts to each other. congratulations, mama.

  16. naomi says:

    Go family!

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