Is "ordinary" good enough?

We have strived to live as "normal" and "ordinary" a life as possible while fighting Nathan's cancer. I think we aim for the "ordinary" target for a variety of reasons. Some of them are selfish. I need to do normal, everyday things so that life isn't always about Nathan's illness. I think there is a solid argument too that Nathan, Julia, Lauren, Susan, and me deserve a bit of normalcy. And while there is so much ugly extra stuff going on like surgeries, chemo, radiation, bone marrow transplant, "pain", scans, bone marrow aspirations, and etc, it almost seems noble to say, "Through it all we just try to provide Nathan and our family with as normal a daily routine as possible".

Is ordinary good enough though? As much as we may strive for ordinary and normal, Nathan is special. Sure, all kids are special. Nathan is extra special. There is no getting around it. More than that though, do we owe him more? Specifically, if he may not be with us very long, should we not strive to provide him with an extraordinary life experience and not an ordinary one?

I think we strike the right balance and I think it is right to fall on the side of "ordinary" because I just don't think I could handle focusing on doing more or providing more to Nathan than we normally would because to do so would be not only to acknowledge that he may die from this illness, but it would feel in a way like giving up hope that he may not. I'm not ready to live like he is dying, because he isn't. But sometimes I can't help but feel like maybe we should be giving him more because he may be.


Katie Altmann said...

It seems that you and Susan do both...both provide him with the daily normal life that is so crucial for the stability that children crave -- and toss in some extraordinary things too. I only havve a limited glimpse of this, but the fact thaty you take him skiing, hiking, to the beach...are extraordinary and fun things. I imageine that you do other extraordinary things that even you may not be aware of because it comes so naturally. I cannot say enough how extraordinary you and Susan are as parents. I bow to you all the time!

-- Katie

Bethany said...

I agree completely with Katie on this. What extraordinary things might you do? How often would you do them?

I think "ordinary" - especially for a kid - is what the kid does regularly. If you began, for example, buying him every toy he saw that he liked, it would become ordinary, and then you'd have to find something new to be extraordinary.

Also, one needs to think about his age and what is enjoyable for him, not only extraordinary. A trip to a far off locale is certainly extraordinary, but travelling to see his grandparents, or going to the beach might bring him a great deal more joy - and if the trip is special to all of you, that makes it extraordinary all on its own.