A friend said to me the other day upon learning my wife is pregnant, “Again! Are you crazy? You’re never going to be able to have a normal life.”

A normal life? I wonder what that means.

Every once in a while someone says something which makes you view your life from an outside perspective. They kind of poke your soul and prod some doubts. Am I ruining my life? Am I filling up my already crowded house too much? Can I afford this many children? (We’re having our fifth) Is my life…abnormal? I was kind of in a funk all day about it.

I took the kids to the bookstore later in the day and my youngest who is feeling the liberation of no longer being in the stroller walked straight into a bookshelf while I’d been reading a magazine about college football. My oldest daughter ran up to him and hugged him in the overly dramatic way that seven year old girls master. But my two year old felt his injury was worthy of dramatics and he hugged her back and tried to explain in his gobbledeygook English what the evil and surprisingly mobile bookshelf had done. My seven year old consoled him saying, “I told you it’s dangerous outside the stroller.”

I laughed loudly and my children looked at me like I was crazy. And a nearby woman with a beret looked at me like I was crazy too as if to say, “Sir, your child has been injured and you’re laughing?” I would have told her he’s not really hurt. She should’ve been there the time he decided to climb up on top of the couch and jump off. All I can say about that is thank God my four year old is so squishy.

As we were leaving the bookstore my five year old announced, “I wish I were handicapped.” She said this because I’d parked at least 25 feet away from the door of the store. I laughed and she looked up at me like I was crazy.

And last night I held my hand on my wife’s stomach and felt our baby’s hiccups every four seconds. We laughed the way first graders laugh at hiccups. Anyone would have thought we were crazy.

I wandered around my house in the dark after my wife fell asleep. What my friend was saying is that my life will never again be focused on what should be the center of my universe- Me. I should worship the only trinity that matters down here -me, myself and I.

But here’s the thing. I’m not as impressed with myself as I used to be. I know all my stories. I’m not as brilliant as I once thought I was. I’m fond of me but quite frankly disappointed. I’m just simply more interested in the other people in my life and watching them create their stories. I just hope I come out better in their stories than I know I am.

So here’s what I learned today. It’s dangerous outside the stroller. And if you’re not careful you could wind up handicapped but with a really good parking spot. I learned that my friends and a woman in a beret think I’m crazy. I learned that my children think I’m crazy. So things look pretty normal here to me.