the new normal
photo by Julie Hunter, used with permission
It’s taken three weeks for the boys to finally trust that Caleb is not going back to Iraq. Not vanishing in the middle of the night. Not driving away, never too return. For several days after the homecoming ceremony, Jackson followed Caleb around the house constantly and every time he would rearrange his footlockers, open the front door, or just act slightly suspicious, Jack would start the panicked inquisition. “Where are you going? What are you doing?”
Jon, also, expected him to disappear. One morning he momentarily couldn’t locate Caleb and started lamenting “Daddy in Iraq. Daddy in Iraq.” It was both heart wrenching and adorable.
Anyway, I’m grateful we seem to have moved beyond that stage. They are no longer surprised to find Caleb here in the morning. And they don’t freak out when he goes on an errand by himself. Life has settled into a new normal. Now that we know what it is to be without him, the new normal is precious and cherished… and not what I would call normal at all.
Click on the picture above to see the other homecoming photos from Julie Hunter