A day of reflection, a day of busy, a day that might not have happened.

It is days like today, my birthday, that I tend to get more melancholy – not sure why, but it seems that days that you spend with family, focused on family, usually bring out the thoughts of what could have been, what might have been.

I am so grateful for the Frank that is here, even if I have to pause at times to wonder where we would be in our lives if there had been no crash, no brain injury, no 84 day hospital stay, no children with PTSD, and no wife that worried.  Amazingly, I don’t wish those last 84 days away – on the contrary, as I have said many times, we have all changed so much that the lines are now blurred on that choice.

Of course we would choose for Frank to never have been injured.

But the changes that it brought to our family?  I am not so sure.

Some of them are pretty great.

Today, as on most Sundays, Tommy and I ventured to the farmers market to pick out some veggies for the week, and to choose a bunch of flowers to take home – a gift to myself.  After a free birthday hot chocolate at Caribou, and a few minutes break with my phone to catch up and say thank you to my Facebook friends, we headed home for the usual Sunday grocery store experience and the children heading outside to play.

Always on my birthday I start to think of fall. Because once my birthday, and then Mariah’s (tomorrow) happens, then school is just around the corner. Summer always ends in a whirlwind of craziness.

This year will be no exception.  The biggest difference is that now Frank is home. He’s patiently waiting for his testing to commence on Halloween. He is getting to witness what life is like being home with the craziness.

I am pretty sure he is not a fan, and would much rather be at work.

I think there comes a point where we wish Frank was at work too. But not because we don’t want him to be with us.  Truly, we have had more family time this year than in the past four years combined. Those times are priceless.  No, it is because it is what we live as normal and what we ALL know he wants.  The comments of “Shhhh, Dad is sleeping” was such a common theme in our house that it became a running joke. It only takes a hand signal to remind someone not to run down that hall. Or yell for their brother, or slam the front door.

The pattern of Daddy, in full gear, leaving for work while we were all eating dinner – a quick hug, a smirk as he was told to be safe, and a “yeah yeah” as he heads out the door, were our normal.

As children went to bed, and the house quieted down, I would be spending some quick moments by myself. Things like reading, checking the house and making sure things were picked up, then heading to bed myself.  Some nights I would call Frank, and check in.  Rarely did he pick up as he was either busy, or at dinner.

My text was always a simple one – Be safe, love you.

Me at home, Frank at work.  Trade places in the morning.  Start over.

That was the routine.

I think we are still, even this far out, adjusting to Dad being around and participating in the crazy world of the house.  Times that we would not have had 19 months ago – times that even now are still not quite normal for any of us.

But we do have them – these precious times to do things together. We are continuing to make memories as a family, even as we work out the logistics of the ever changing relationships that we all have right now.

Tomorrow our oldest turns seventeen – talk about family changes.  I think I am going to need time to adjust to a child that in one year will be off to college.

I cannot even imagine how we will deal with that.

Thankfully, we can just focus on the things that we currently have going on. By next year, we can all look back and realize how life changed and grew around us as we figured out the world we were in.

And hopefully, realize that although it felt like such a struggle some day, it was overshadowed by the good that life brought to us.

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