By Sherri Coner
As a North Grove Elementary School second grader, Adam Norman barely noticed Amy Meadows’ existence because, well … cooties, you know.
By the time they entered Center Grove High School, the cootie craze was long gone.
Adam and Amy were an item.
Their first steps toward adulthood were taken side by side when both enrolled at Indiana University.
Adam studied law and Amy studied journalism.
Now 27 years of marriage later, Amy describes their life at home in Center Grove as a faith-filled trust.
“We’re not planners,” she said. “We’ve taken life as it comes to us.”
Life has other plans
Over the years, life brought them four sons: Jackson, 22; Eli, 19; Deacon, 15; and Bodie, 14.
“God blessed us with them,” Amy said of her rowdy boys. “I just get to be part of their lives. I don’t take that possessively.”
Parenting four young children had a distinct trial-by-fire flavor.
Adam, an only child, and Amy, who has one younger sister, weren’t prepared to fill their lives with energetic little boys who climbed and crawled and occasionally declared war on each other.
But then again, that faith-filled trust always kicked in.
Sometimes two of the boys were in diapers at the same time.
Their years together can still be exhausting … in a wonderful kind of way.
“I always valued family,” Adam said. “But once the boys were in my life and as they have matured, the loyalty and support of the family unit is the most crucial and important part of a successful and fulfilled life for me.”
Memories of adventures
Along with playing board games and catching movies as a family, adventures have also been important.
“We’ve really tried to value experiences over stuff,” Amy said.
Trips to Washington D.C., Disney World and Wisconsin Dells along with enjoying snowboarding, hiking, biking and tubing have given them countless memories.
The boys tease and torment one another in silly ways.
For example, the older brothers aggravate Bodie by switching the heads on his Legos.
Sharing the bathroom is also a hassle.
“There’s never any warm water left for a shower,” Deacon said with a chuckle.
Terrorizing their dad with an inflatable three-foot Superman is another activity they never give up.
Sometimes Superman mysteriously shows up in a dark corner, to cause Adam some extra heart palpitations.
Other times, he is startled to find it in the shower.
“They hide it all over the house,” Amy said with a laugh.
Love and laughter
No matter how much horseplay goes on in the Norman household, brotherly love is alive and well.
“One time I was in time-out,” Eli said of early childhood. “Jackson was so upset he served my time-out for me.”
Without fail, the boys pile into the smallest bedroom together on Christmas Eve, where there’s one set of bunk beds and a couple of air mattresses.
While raising their children, Adam and Amy have not only been available for each other, but also to pursue their own growth opportunities.
First, Amy enrolled in nursing school.
“I always wanted to go to nursing school,” she said. “But I didn’t have the confidence to do it.”
Adam then served as a member of the Center Grove School Board from 2013 to 2018.
He was also the board president in 2016.
Since 2018, Amy has been the health services coordinator for Center Grove Schools, overseeing school nurses in six elementary schools, two middle schools and the high school.
Adam is deputy director of the Indiana Child Support Program.
Along with choosing careers that serve others, the Normans have spent a lot of years cheering from the bleachers.
“Everybody was playing soccer for quite a while so Saturday was all soccer all morning,” Amy said. “But we did a great thing by allowing them to do what they enjoy doing even if it made things harder for us.”
Though Jackson and Eli were most interested in competitive sports, Deacon and Bodie added music to their list of interests.
Now that Jackson and Eli are off to college, Adam is a member of the marching and indoor percussion pit crew since Deacon is in the band.
Amy is still in shock at how much lighter the schedule is with only Deacon and Bodie at home.
Along with parenting basics, Adam and Amy have dedicated a lot of time toward instilling specific values.
By going to nursing school, Amy showed the boys “not to be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It’s important to pass along to them that they have choices in this life,” she said.
By serving on the school board, Adam modeled the importance of community service.
Since the boys were young, Adam and Amy have also taught them an even more important life skill.
There is no harshness in their home.
When poor choices are made, communication is direct but respectful.
They take advantage of teachable moments.
“In our house, we are soft with words,” Eli said.
The Norman sons are also taught to not only extend that respect past their home address, but to expand on their ability to accept what they can’t always see or understand.
“We teach the boys that sometimes, when you see stuff going on with people, they all have a story,” Amy said. “We talk a lot about choosing kindness. You can’t ever go wrong with kindness.”
Additionally, they have taught their sons to “show love, kindness and grace to everyone in all actions and situations,” Adam said.