The Ordinary

posted in: Life 72 comments

Yes, still writing about pregnancy over at Everyday Family – this time about what I loved, and didn’t, about being pregnant. Would you be so kind as to click over for a read and/ or a share with your pregnant friends? I appreciate it!

You know what happens when something tragic of epic proportions happen? When so many families will go through the rest of the lives, forever changed?

For the rest of us, the ability to talk about the ordinary, becomes hard.

When we do, when we resume our lives to what it was before (although, forever changed in some way), when we write and talk and think about things other than lost babies, guns, mental illness, a nation brought to its knees – it feels….. wrong. Inappropriate.

But is this how we want to live? Walking on eggshells, afraid to live our lives, our very short lives?

Not me.

Yes, I am changed. I look at my children now and feel even more grateful that they’re safe, they’re here, they’re still shielded from all the evil in this world. I am grateful for my life, we have so much.

But I also want to take back my ordinary. I want to be able to tell you about the things in my life right now that are making me happy, that are frustrating me, that are exciting me. Is it callous? Uncaring? I don’t know. I just know that I need to.

Albert Einstein quote

I want to tell you that my baby boy, 7 1/2 months old, is crawling, and standing, and eating a bunch of things. I want to tell you what a trooper he’s been the past week, despite the nasty cough and cold he caught.

I want to tell you about my nearly 3 year old, who’s doing so well at school, and is really attached to his teacher. I want to tell you he’s been trying new food, which is a big deal for us because he’s been picky for a year. A year. I want to tell you that I’m one of those parents who have yet to potty train my 3 year old because gosh, there was just so much going on in our lives, there just didn’t seem to be the right time, but yes, we’re choosing the end of the year to plunge into the hellhole that is potty training.

I want to tell you about my new service for Little Love Media, blog evaluations and strategies for bloggers, and I’m really excited about it. I want to tell you to tell every blogger you know, who want to take their blog to the next level.

I want to tell you that after two weeks of being out of the kitchen due to a minor inconvenience of being operated on, it feels rather nice to be able to cook meals for my family. I want to tell you that I’ve been Pinning so many delicious recipes that I want to try. I want to tell you about the ridiculous birthday cakes my sister is Pinning for me to make for my son (THREE on December 29).

I’m taking back my ordinary. Are you?

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • December 19, 2012 Ma. Teresa Grech Q. Racal

    As they say, life has to go on…. But we shouldn’t forget… Everything has to be back to “normal”…
    Ma. Teresa Grech Q. Racal recently wrote…Amaya’s WorldMy Profile

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      Not forgetting, just moving on. 🙂

  • December 19, 2012 thedoseofreality

    It is hard, right? Everything “real life” seems trivial, but yet, it is still our reality. We decided like you to take back our normal. This is very well written, as always and you perfectly echoed the way I have been feeling.

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      I like to think that we are honoring the 26 who are no longer here – by living our lives that we still have, to the fullest.

  • December 19, 2012 Rivki Silver

    I don’t think it’s callous or uncaring at all. I think that the best tribute we could do for those who are gone is to live our lives, but better. To take that change and spread it and share it and to live our lives to the fullest.
    I’m in those trenches with you (though lately we’ve been seeing some progress – hope of hopes!). And I can also relate about the picky eating, so yay for trying new food! That is really exciting! Thank you for sharing your small triumphs and may you continue to have many, many more. Feel good.
    Rivki Silver recently wrote…We Need To Change Our Conversation: Stop the Violence In Our LanguageMy Profile

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      You’re absolutely right, it is the best tribute.
      Thanks to his preschool, he is trying new food. it’s still a challenge at home, but I know that we’re at least one step closer to more food options.

  • December 19, 2012 Mamaintheburbs

    Very well said! I’m glad things are getting back to normal in your life. We also have a three year old who is not yet potty trained. I tried a few months ago and she wasn’t ready. So we put her back in diapers. I wish you all the luck in the world with your son. Also my daughter is a very picky eater when it comes to dinner, how did you get your son to try different food?

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      Good luck to you too!
      My son recently started preschool, and they’ve been introducing new food to him. He doesn’t always try it, but he has tried a few new things. From what I understand, they put him with the good eaters (peer pressure and good examples) and they don’t force him to eat if he refuses. They just keep trying.

  • December 19, 2012 Laura

    I’m so with you. I think I need to get back to my ordinary too. I don’t think it does any good for our kids otherwise. It’s hard though.

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      It is hard, but try we must. Good luck!

  • December 19, 2012 tracy

    I love you. And your beautiful ordinary. xoxo
    tracy recently wrote…My pvBodyMy Profile

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      I love you too. Much much much. xo

  • December 19, 2012 Robin

    Ordinary is good, and necessary. And those are all lovely, life-affirming things.

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      It is necessary. I felt like I couldn’t breathe all weekend, but doing normal things, getting on with my day, being with my family, that helped a lot.

  • December 19, 2012 Kristin

    Yeah, it’s been hard to feel anything other than sadness and grief this week, in spite of – or maybe BECAUSE of – the holiday season. It feels odd to laugh, but then it also feels odd to NOT laugh. I do feel callous and uncaring each time I turn off the TV so that I don’t have to see the sweet faces of the slain children splayed across my screen. But I just can’t watch. I see the face of my 3YO in every single one of them. It’s too much.

    Last night, I resolved to turn on Christmas music and wrap presents and try to muster some holiday cheer. I somewhat succeeded – baby steps, I suppose. For me, the Sandy Hook tragedy combined with my own personal family issues have just dealt a crushing blow to my holiday spirit this year. But I’m feeling better than I was a few days ago, at least. Baby steps. I think that’s all any of us can hope to take now – both the families of the victims and those who mourn with them, friends and strangers alike.
    Kristin recently wrote…Silent NightMy Profile

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      Sorry you’re having such a rough time. This time of year is really hard in so many ways, yes? Glad you did what you had to do. Baby steps, indeed.
      Happy Holidays, my friend, as it will be, being with your loved ones.

  • December 19, 2012 Shannon

    I love that – taking back the ordinary. Our ordinary lives are blessings and worth celebrating.
    Shannon recently wrote…Celebrating the GoodMy Profile

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      It’s all we can do.

  • December 19, 2012 Arnebya

    I’m sort of kind of getting there, not there yet. It’s not that I feel like going on is callous, but we have to know what we need. We can still care, we can still hurt, we can still cry and occasionally just drop down and stay there awhile, but we can’t stay there and those affected need lifting. Can’t lift if we’re still on the floor ourselves.
    Arnebya recently wrote…I Blame Us AllMy Profile

    • December 19, 2012 Alison

      What a great perspective. Thank you Arnebya.

  • December 20, 2012 AnnMarie

    This is very well put. It does feel strange to talk about the ordinary but I am feeling lost not being able to. I am choosing the end of this year to potty train Gia, too. I keep putting it off but I need to get my rear in gear about it. Here’s hoping it isn’t too stressful for either of us.
    AnnMarie recently wrote…A Few Things to Make the World a Better PlaceMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      Good luck with the training. I am. dreading. it.

  • Yes, ordinary must be faced and braved. It is the only way.
    But we must remember and make sure the memory remains vivid. Otherwise it becomes meaningless.
    BTW good luck with the potty training, we are nearly diaper free! Although yes, my soon to be 4 year old still sleeps with a diaper at night. Meh, so what.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…Fooling your mother : a timelineMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      I don’t think any of us will forget any time soon.
      We will still be a diapered household for at least another 2 years, but one less would be very nice!

  • December 20, 2012 Mirjam

    I know exactly what you mean. And yet the ordinary doesn’t feel like the ordinary (yet).
    Every time I hug, kiss my kids, every time I giggle with them, every time I tuck them in, I realize how lucky I am. And I realize that I have everything, everything I need. Thank you for putting to words what I am feeling.
    Mirjam recently wrote…SilenceMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      I think it will take a while. But I don’t want to be frozen. Time is short, I need to move on and do it for the kids.

  • December 20, 2012 Courtney Kirkland

    It’s hard to return to “normal” when there are so many others whose lives will never be normal again. Everything seems a bit more insignificant after a tragedy like the one in CT. But, we can’t always go about life like we’re afraid everyone will break. Glad you are taking back your normal! I can’t believe the littlest one is crawling and standing already. He’ll be walking before long, mama! 🙂
    Courtney Kirkland recently wrote…Real Life…2.5 weeks inMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      It is, but it’s necessary. If we freeze and our babies move on, that’s not good for any of us. And yes, the littlest is growing up at warp speed. All this crawling and getting into things, standing up and cruising, is giving me minor heart attacks 🙂

  • December 20, 2012 Kim at Let Me Start By Saying

    Thanks for pointing this out to me. We all need the OK to be every day again.

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      We do, we absolutely do.

  • December 20, 2012 Natalie

    You always say the right things at the right moment…I was thinking the same thing…it felt wrong to write normal posts…but then I thought we don’t want the evil to win out…and that would be the truth if we didn’t share our lives and keep going…and believing in the good and making every small moment with our children special. I’m glad you are feeling better and are back in the kitchen…send me some goodies!
    Natalie recently wrote…Trees, Trucks, and Onesies!My Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      Good always wins. Because we make sure of it. For our children at least.
      I’ll eat the baked goods on your behalf. 🙂

  • December 20, 2012 Christine

    Yes, I know what you mean. It feels weird to “move on” and resume life as ordinary but I too want to reclaim the ordinary. And ohmygoodness, I can’t believe your boys are getting so big. So great that Monkey is trying new food (E is also super duper picky) so I know what a big triumph that is.
    Christine recently wrote…Workout clothes addictionMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      Claim it, my friend, claim it.
      And the boys? Yes, super warp speed growing up is going on here. Which is why I can’t stay frozen with grief and shock. Because my kids need me not to.

  • December 20, 2012 Alexa

    Totally! I have actually found myself shutting it out because I don’t think I could stand it. Yes, it is time to’s not callous. It’s life.
    Alexa recently wrote…While Others Stand Still (TTTS Tuesday – Andrea)My Profile

  • December 20, 2012 Kimberly

    We do need to keep going, though we will never, ever forget.
    Kimberly recently wrote…You Are My HopeMy Profile

  • December 20, 2012 tori nelson

    Thanks for this post. I had a whole bunch of funny, silly posts scheduled for this week and then I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. It’s a strange situation. On one hand I don’t want to write as though nothing happened, but on the other I acknowledge that ANYTHING I write will seem trivial in comparison. I’m going for smiles this week, because we’ve all been crying.
    tori nelson recently wrote…The Past Perfect Passive Aggressive PresentMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      Smiles is a good way to go, Tori.

  • December 20, 2012 Lady Jennie

    No, of course we need to keep going forward. There are horrible tragedies happening worldwide, and daily, that we have no inkling of. I am glad to hear of your ordinary.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…BereftMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      I’m glad you’re glad. 🙂

  • December 20, 2012 Olga

    Alison, I do think we need to go on with our lives at some point, but sometimes it’s very hard and this is one of those times. I think for some of us it will take longer than for others because I think it will depend on how close or far we’ve been to the tragedy. But each of us will take time to grieve in our own way. I do think that we have to find a way to tribute those beautiful children in some way. Maybe we take something silly and superficial that we used to do and we stop doing that. Out of respect. Or because we’ve learned something.

    On a different note, I am looking at your instagram pics on the right and it looks like you’ve been reading “room”. What did you think? That was a very emotionally difficult book for me to get through…
    Olga recently wrote…A Chance to Look BackMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      It is hard for many. I am FAR removed from the horror, being on the other side of the world, but grief knows no geography. But what is closer it that my life is happening, regardless. That my children are growing up so quickly, and I need to be there for them. That is my tribute to those poor children gone too soon – being more for my children.

      I am reading ‘Room’ and it’s very well written. It is a hard subject, but I can’t stop reading it….

  • December 20, 2012 Adrienne

    Good for you! It’s time. We all are changed forever. But, we have to move on. Congrats on your bix venture!!
    Adrienne recently wrote…LabelsMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Adrienne!

  • December 20, 2012 Julie

    I took a few days to think about things and to feel them, a day to reorganize some priorities and then yes, back to business. Because I think that no matter what the tragedy, it remains true that life goes on, it has to.
    Julie recently wrote…Discovering snow (again)My Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      It absolutely has to.

  • December 20, 2012 Sue

    Yes, yes, yes. We go on. With hurting hearts. Wiser. Looking to help. To mend. But we go on.
    Sue recently wrote…Cornflake-Marshmallow Wreath ThingiesMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      You summarized it perfectly.

  • December 20, 2012 Kim

    Lovely words and beautiful thoughts as always, Alison.

    I think we can do both: be so incredibly grateful for and revel in the ordinary, and at the same time offer help to those in need, through time, talent, prayers, or money. If it’s not feasible to reach to distant places to comfort, focus on those in your town, even on your street. Write a kind note, extend an invitation to coffee, or for a walk.
    Kim recently wrote…Got encouragement?<br/>Time to give and receive: It&#8217;s a linkup!My Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      Kindness. Yes. I strive to practice that daily, in small and big ways. Thank you Kim.

  • December 21, 2012 Stasha

    Yes. Life is both happy and tragic. And life must go on. So excited to hear all of your good news. Made my morning.

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      Glad that it did, my friend!

  • December 21, 2012 sarah

    well, yes, when you put it like that…I am slowly but surely i’m taking back my ordinary too. Thanks for helping me to not feel guilty about it either. we’ve got to go on. changed, but that’s okay. thanks for the reminder 🙂
    sarah recently wrote…the sunday spill–about nodding yes and being matched upMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      We have to put the guilt aside. So many are suffering everywhere, if we take on all the grief and guilt, where would we have space for our happiness and blessings? And you’re welcome. 🙂

  • December 21, 2012 Jessica

    You pinning recipes? No way.
    Jessica recently wrote…Gifts You Should Never, Ever Buy For KidsMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      My sister AND I. Yup, I sucked her into Pinterest, hah!

  • December 21, 2012 Niña

    Hello Alison,

    I really love that message from Einstein, really true. And oh, it’s glad to hear your baby boy’s improvement.
    Hope you’ll have a happy blogcation (saw that on facebook).

    Happy Holidays.

    Niña recently wrote…It’s Nearly ChristmasMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Nina!

  • December 21, 2012 My Inner Chick

    –What the Hell is normal?

    Love you, Alison Lee.

    Merry Christmas

    Savor your family! Xxxx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…A Different Kind Of Christmas TreeMy Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      I don’t know, but I do know that ordinary is not always normal 🙂

      Merry Christmas to you!

  • December 21, 2012 Elaine A.

    I don’t think those vibrant children or their families would want us to “wallow” for too long, but insted honor and remember their sweet lives that were lived and lost. I’m doing the best I can over here too but there has yet to be a day where I have not cried…
    Elaine A. recently wrote…A Whole Bunch of Holiday Cheer!My Profile

    • December 21, 2012 Alison

      It will get better. Hugs. xo

  • December 22, 2012 Rach (DonutsMama)

    Well said. Yes, the tragedy was horrific and I didn’t feel like writing, reading or anything other than hugging my little girl. It felt so wrong to be “normal,” but I think you’re right that we can’t walk on eggshells. That we can still grieve and yet still live.

    P.S. Good luck potty training. I’m avoiding it too!
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently wrote…Little JoysMy Profile

    • December 22, 2012 Alison

      Grieve and live. Such is life, yes?
      Ugh potty training. It starts soon. Dreading it. Ack.

  • December 24, 2012 Nina

    This concept totally speaks to me–taking back the ordinary. Well said, Alison.

    Merry Christmas and happy blogcation!

    • December 24, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Nina, happy holidays!

  • December 24, 2012 Katie

    YES! This is something I struggled so hard with. Wanting to go back to normal without offending everyone. I just couldn’t sit in the sadness and have my brain stay sane. I couldn’t sit with it in my heart with two living boys here in my house. Who need me to be…ordinary. Just mom. Not anxiety, depressed, stressed out, sad, and scared mom. Just…mom.

    So yes. I 100% agree with this.
    Katie recently wrote…Merry Christmas!My Profile

    • December 25, 2012 Alison

      I’m so glad you agree. I was a little apprehensive publishing this, but it was the first step towards getting back to some kind of ordinariness. At least in my part of the blog world.


  • January 1, 2013 Leighann

    I think it’s really important to do this… to aknowledge that something awful happened and to force a change but to also go through with our own lives.. just changed.
    Leighann recently wrote…2012My Profile

    • January 1, 2013 Alison

      Yes, I think so!

  • January 8, 2013 Tonya

    Ordinary is great. I’ll take simple, slow, ordinary any ole day.

    Great quote.
    Tonya recently wrote…SickMy Profile

    • January 8, 2013 Alison

      I think we’re getting there, slowly but surely.

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