Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Normal is the New Normal

Today I’m reporting from Sun Valley, Idaho where my family is vacationing. 

I have three goals for this family vacation:

1. Relish each of the 12 days that I get to spend with my Jackson crew—all seven of us, baby.  It’s practically a miracle that we could all come together like this from different corners of the continent.

2. Get in shape.  I am tired of having triceps that wag.

3. Get tan.  Just in case I’m not able to get in shape, a tan is a great disguise for out-of-shapeness.

Normally our vacations are very conducive to reaching these three goals.  They are full of biking, hiking, Frisbee, swimming, tennis, and evening walks together.  We like our vacations packed with outdoor activity.    

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to be active (thus my out-of-shapeness) with my family the last two years, with the exception of an occasional bike ride or walk.   But I’m already feeling a big difference in my body, just a month after my tonsillectomy, and so as I stepped off the plane into the dry valley heat on Sunday I was hopeful that this would be the summer that my triceps stop wagging. 

I am a woman of many hopes and dreams, though, and I’ve been dreaming of eating Kettle brand potato chips every day since my tonsillectomy on July 2nd.  And since Sunday was the day I could finally begin to eat crunchy foods again, we stopped at the grocery store on our way home from the airport and bought the biggest bag of Kettle chips we could find.

I ate them with dinner that night, and with every meal yesterday.  Oh dear. 

This is immediately after my first bike ride of the week

Needless to say, my triceps are still wagging.

But they are also sore. 

This is the part of the post where I whoop and twirl and sing celebratory songs, because yesterday—the first full day of Jackson-style vacation—I felt normal.  Like, not sick normal.  Like, I could sort of keep up with my family normal, and feel normal tired afterwards. 

It’s been two years since I’ve felt normal, and I’ve forgotten how good it feels. The truth is there just aren’t words to describe how good it feels.  So I’m not going to try. 

But in the spirit of recording the good things God has done in my life these last two years, I’ve got to tell you about my normal day yesterday. Because it was a gigantic landmark in my journey back to health, and I never want to forget it.

First things first: we ate breakfast and then headed out on a bike ride.  We were so caught up in the beauty of the shimmering aspen and the banner of blue sky that we forgot to take pictures. 

We forgot to take pictures last year, too. 

Here is a picture we took last year of us pretending to ride bikes on the last night of vacation so that we’d have something by which to remember our vacation.  Unfortunately it was late at night and the flash wasn't terribly consistent.

Anyway, we biked until our quads burned and we dripped sweat, and then we came back and ate first lunch.

Then Natasha, my sister in law who is training for the Olympics, took us through part of her core strength routine. 

My abs burned and my triceps jiggled (and then got encouragingly sore) and I felt like throwing up because I’m in that bad of shape.  But man it felt good, because man, I’ve missed burning muscles and nausea.   That, I guess, is the sign of a runner—when you love the pain of hard work because it makes you feel fully alive.

Once we’d recovered from our core workout we ate second lunch.  We like to eat like hobbits when we’re on vacation.

Then we went to the pool and played and swam laps, and then we threw the Frisbee around in the afternoon heat.

Little brother, on the way to the pool.

And then we went to the store and bought chips.

And then it was evening, and I was abnormally elated by how normally my body reacted to such a normal day. 

Normal is my new favorite word.  Normal, normal, normal, normal.  



© by scj


  1. Ah, those triceps. I work out at the gym and mine STILL wiggle! Thanks for making me smile.And enjoy those chips! Yeah!

  2. Shirley,

    They are certainly stubbornly wiggling little muscles, aren't they! We'll see if my push-up/chip regime does the trick. ;)


  3. Love it! I'm so, so happy for you!

    And there's a cartoon going round fb of an older woman getting a flag tattoo on her triceps with something to the effect of: Well, it waves anyway, so I thought I'd be patriotic...

  4. Thank you, Sharalyn!

    I haven't seen that cartoon, but I'm thinking wagging triceps give many of us women a sense of solidarity. ;)

  5. Hey! Potato chips have iron in them! Not as much iron as bison burgers or raisins or pumpkin seeds, but all iron is good iron!!

  6. Snapdragon! No wonder I'm feeling so good! I also ate a bison burger yesterday, so my iron levels must be extraordinary. Thanks for the encouragement. ;)

  7. Thrilled about your progress towards health and yet challenged by the brave way you have faced illness. Seriously, admire who you are and thankful for the vulnerable way you share your true self. Thank you!!!!

  8. Thank you, Amy, for your kind words!

  9. Oooh, your blog reads of sheer joy! And it's contagious.