Define Normal

Normal (adj) – Conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type; typical

I am in a reflective mood today.  I am not going to get deep or political, or confess my inner demons for that matter.  It’s just that I have been presented with a situation recently that has made me question, what is normal?  Define for me if you will a “normal” family?

SiblingsI find myself in this predicament because H’s sister* – Emily – returned from Uni for the summer.  Now, it’s not unusual for Em to come home for the odd weekend, but what H hasn’t been used to is Em coming home for long periods of time.  This has obviously been very confusing for him.  H was OK with it as first but over the last few weeks he has become quite possessive, repeatedly saying “it’s my Mummy”, and “it’s my Daddy”.

(To be honest he says it now to anyone willing to listen.  In a queue at the chip shop last week he eye-balled the 50-year old man behind us announcing in a demonic voice that I was his Mummy, whilst flinging his arms around my neck and practically cutting off my windpipe in the process!)

You see, our family is what I would call “normal”.   Em is his sister but I am not sure whether he knows what that means.  I mean, a 19 year age gap is quite difficult to comprehend when your friends siblings are all similar in age.  My husband and his ex-wife are still friendly.  She and I get on well and it isn’t unusual for us to all spend time together.  In fact we have even had nights in and meals together when hubby is in work.  She and Em also take H on days out and she is as generous with her time as she is with her gifts.  She adores him as much as the rest of us.  And then lets move on to the grandparents.  The example given to us came from my parents.  My Mum and Dad divorced when I was 11 and yet remain on speaking terms and see each other regularly.  Whilst away studying, I knew that I could ring one of them from a payphone and that they would pass a message on to the other so that I could save my 10p’s. Both are invited to Xmas dinner together, weddings, funerals and birthdays, even though my Dad has a partner.  But being a teenager I found it easier to understand.  How am I going to explain all of this to a toddler?

Is it in fact that referring to something as “normal” in this context is long past its sell by date?  When we say “normal” what do we really mean?

Love

Harry’s Honest Mummy x

* She is in fact his half-sister, but I don’t like that word as it implies she/he are half as important to each other.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  He is her world.

And then the fun began...

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40 thoughts on “Define Normal

  1. Sorry, I’ve just got to leap in here; is she a step sister as you say…or do both Em and H have the same biological father? If it’s the latter, she is a sister (half sister if you must). Step relatives are not blood relatives. I don’t mean to be a pedant, but this strikes at the very heart of the point you’re making. I spent most of my childhood in step-family set up with two (half) brothers. I have other (half) siblings in various other countries. I would say my family is unusual for its complexity but the “normal” nuclear family, well it’s just a dream isn’t it? Families have always been enormously complex by nature and there is no “normal”. In some respects the “normal” family is quite an insulting concept. Where do same sex couples, adoptive couples, foster families etc fit into this stereotype? #truthabout

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    1. Thanks John. You are right they are half sister/brother as they share the same dad. So by that logic then they are siblings. You raise some great points there at the end, things have massively evolved over the last 20 years and it will be interesting to see how much more complex things will get. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. I think what you learn as you grow up is that probably you think your family is normal and other people are a bit weird until you finally realise that they think they’re normal and you’re the weird ones. Pretty subjective I reckon. My husband has an eleven year old daughter from his previous marriage but unfortunately we don’t see much of her and her parents have never seen eye to eye. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout 🙂

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  3. I think I live in what could be described as a normal family – married, 2 kids, one remaining grandparent alive and no divorces, step siblings etc …. but why should that make me normal and in fact in today’s’ society I think I am probably more unusual than normal? But I am me and my family is my family and that is all that really counts. #MyFavouritePost

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  4. Every family is normal in their own way. As long as everyone is happy, loved, nurtured, well treated and safe, that’s all that matters. Have a lovely week 🙂

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  5. I think there’s no exact definition of the word normal… everyone of us is unique in our own ways and lifestyle. And I think it’s not normal either to compare ourselves to other people to find the right meaning of normality. #MyFavouritePost

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  6. Your final words sum it up for me- love. That is all there needs to be. What a lovely post! Thanks for joining in #HappyDaysLinky x

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  7. This is something I can relate to as my three year old has a 21 year old sister who he didn’t really see for the first two years of his life, but now he sees regularly. She doesn’t live in our home as she has her own home, but this was confusing, as was the fact of why this girl called his daddy, dad, yet his mum, Jan. It’s very tricky and I explained to my eight year old son as he asked how come dad was her dad but I wasn’t her mum, but even at eight, he didn’t seem to get it fully – that his dad had been married previously and he asked how she was his sister if I wasn’t her mum. I explained the best I could, but every-so-often his cheeky side comes out and he says, hey half sister. I’ve told him off for it as I’ve told him it doesn’t make a difference – no win situation when you have a cheeky child, and tricky when your child is far too young to understand. I’m sorry for answering your question with a question but are any of us really normal? Great post! #bigfatlinky

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  8. This is such a lovely post. Normal is whatever is normal to you! We are all so different but to ourselves we are normal (mostly). I love that despite the separations and new marriages, you are still a wonderfully close family and that H’s sister adores him. So so lovely. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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  9. Lovely post! Sounds like you have a great family arrangement – it’s great how everyone gets on so well! It sounds like Harry has loads of people who love him, whether your ‘normal’ or not, he’s going to grow up a very happy and loved little boy! x #bigfatlinky

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  10. There are no normal families! I think it’s wonderful that your husband’s ex is so involved & that everyone gets along so well. Sounds like a really special family 🙂 #HappyDays x

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  11. Totally with you on this, I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all type of family anymore.

    Yours sounds lovely and I think it’s great that you all get on so well. I wish my family had that mature outlook. Unfortunately, they don’t!

    Thanks for joining the #HappyDaysLinky

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  12. As a product of a ‘broken’ family, I can reassure you that as long as the child is surrounded by love , which it sounds like he is, then this can be such a blessing. Being spoilt rotten left right and centre. Multiple sets of grandparents. Least of all the fab babysitting options 🙂 kids are so adaptable, I’m sure he’ll be one of many in his class with a similar ‘normal’ set up x great post x MMT

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  13. What is normal? It can be such a silly word really. It implies that everything outside of a bubble is abnormal which is such rubbish. Really thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing it with me and my readers #mummyandus

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  14. Really enjoying reading your post. I think these days there is nothing as such a “normal” family. The world is so different from years ago that step siblings, divorce parents, even parents of the same sex are the norm
    TwinklyTuesday

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  15. Popping over from #justanotherlinky =) A great thought to ponder, normal. I added it to a list of things I’d like to write about in a journaling series I’m doing. Don’t forget to stop by Two Uses Tuesday (Mon PM) to share your recipes, crafts, upcycles & DIYs & your pinnable images at Pinbellish (Friday AM) over at Sarah Celebrates if you don’t already!

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  16. A lovely post! My family set-up is quite similar to yours in that we have a 2yr old and my partners 16yr old, both who get on lovely even though she doesn’t live with us all the time. I always refer to them as sisters but wonder if Mia really understands and how will i explain it all to her?! i guess as she gets older it will all just be ‘normal’ for her 🙂 A lovely post about what can be a tricky subject

    #mummyandus

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      1. Well its a really important subject that i think people find difficult to even begin to talk about. Iam really glad you did 🙂

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  17. This is a lovely post and something for all separated and blended families to aspire to. You should all feel really proud if the. ‘Normal’ that you’ve created. #twinklytuesday

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  18. Oh sweetie! I totally understand how you feel. How do you explain something that is so beautiful as the bond between a brother and sister whether there is blood connected or not. I don’t think you really can explain it in words. It will just be showing him how special he is to have her. I have to explain to my three why their mommy and daddy are together but their sister isn’t so lucky. It’s rough at times but we make it work cause we love our family. #mummyandus
    Kristen

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  19. This sounds like the perfect family arrangement to me – far better than some who might be described as ‘normal’. It seems there is love and respect by the bucket load. Harry is so lucky to have so many people in his life who love him xx

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  20. Absolutely agree. What is normal anyway? There are many different types of families. We are not all two parents and 2.4 children of similar age. My family wouldn’t be considered “normal” either (I am a single parent and my son was conceived with donor sperm), but I think that’s what makes us interesting.

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