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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows was EMERGENCY! You might remember it. Roy and Johnny were the paramedics that saved the lives of young and old, accident victim and fool, rich or poor. They spent much time riding around in their rescue squad. It's number was 51. They were part of station 51 in Los Angeles. They inspired me in many ways. For a very long time I wanted to be a paramedic, or a fire fighter. Neither was to be, but I still love to watch the show now and then when I stumble upon it.

While the number 51 inspired me as a kid, the number 51 as a birthday? Ah, it hasn't been bad, but I wouldn't say it was inspiring. At least not on birthday morning. Not that birthday morning was bad. On the contrary it was very good. It started with grandchildren waking me up. Smiles and hugs and "happy birthday gramma" from Kahlen, and something that sounded very much like a happy birthday gramma from Paxton as well!

The day was filled with chasing kids and hearing giggles. Kahlen and Willie went to the store to buy the things needed to make a birthday cake. They worked together to make my cake. It was dark chocolate with chocolate fudge frosting. My favorite! I'm not sure that it all ended up in the pan to be baked though.

She did a wonderful job with the cake and helped make my birthday supper as well. Tater Tot casserole. Wince if you must, but Tater Tot casserole has always been one of my favorite suppers. When I was a kid, I would always have a very hard time deciding between Tater Tot casserole or spaghetti and meatballs for my birthday supper. When Willie asked what I wanted for my birthday meal, at first I couldn't think of anything. Then like a flash of an old memory, Tater Tot casserole jumped to mind. When they went to the store, tots were bought.

While birthday morning was full of fun, it wasn't until birthday afternoon the the number 51 invoked inspiration on to me once again.

Willie and I were playing chase with Paxton. Willie was carrying Paxton and chasing me around the house. Paxton was giggling and laughing as hard as he could. He may have wet his pants. Since he is still in diapers, being barely over a year old, we will never know for sure. It was great fun for all.

They got me cornered in the kitchen behind the couch. They thought they had me trapped! They snuck ever closer. (The word "snuck" being used very loosely here, as Paxton was giggling the whole time.) As the crept closer, I found my escape. I would roll on to the couch from the back, I would show them just how very clever I was, HA HA HA!!! I made my move, I climbed onto the back of the couch.  I slowly lowered myself back planning on landing on the couch seat. Yes, a brilliant plan, brilliant indeed.

Soooo.... the couch, it had a different idea about how brilliant this plan of mine was. Somehow, this slowly, lowering myself on to the seat of the couch turned into an out and out backwards somersault and I found myself on the floor between the couch and the coffee table, (which I felt move as I fell.) And I did this without the benefit of even a single drop of alcohol in my system, in case you were wondering. Tah Dah!

What could be inspiring in such an obvious lack of judgement and all out stupidity you surely must wonder? First, my left hip had been hurting, pretty badly for a few days. Hurting to the point where I was having a really tough time getting up and down stairs. I was starting to wonder if I needed to go to the doctor. I landed on said left hip after my acrobatic tumble off the couch, and it hasn't hurt since! That's right! I stood up, since I did NOT stick the landing, and the pain in my hip was gone! A couple of other places hurt, and bruises would soon arise, I was sure, but my hip was fine! I was happy! Willie looked at me like I was crazy when I started smiling and laughing. But I was so happy the pain was gone from my hip I couldn't help it!

Second, our coffee table is right in front of the couch. We put our feet up on it when we watch TV. Yet, though I flipped over backwards, and landed on the floor between the couch and coffee table, somehow, I did NOT hit my head. Didn't even graze it against the table. Still don't know how.

Third, my coffee table is full of Christmas ornaments that could have easily been smashed if they had been knocked off. One, the Charlie Brown statue, was given to me by my son, I would have been broken hearted if it had gotten ruined. Though the coffee table moved, not one thing fell off or even tumbled over. Heck, as hard as I landed, if I had landed on the table instead of next to it I could have easily demolished the entire table.

Back to the inspiration. Something that could have been a minor disaster at best, or a major disaster at worse, was neither. And something that had been becoming more and more of a problem, my hip, is no longer a problem.

My 51st year of this life, which started on winter solstice 2012, was a wild ride of wonderful and dreadful. Full of emotional upheavals and shocks, and beauty and wonder. June brought my father's diagnosis of dementia that turned our worlds upside down. He moved out of his home of fifty years into ours. We have watched him regress and stabilize only to regress again. One minute to the next cannot be predicted. He may be fine, happily reading the paper, then not remember how to use his toothbrush. He may go several days without an accident, and then go through four pairs of pants in one day.  Adapting and reworking have become the norm around here.

Early August brought Kahlen's fourth birthday. Chicken cake was made and presents were bought. A birthday was just what was needed to take my mind and turn it to happy thoughts instead of the constant worry about Dad.

Late August ushered in the last days of my brother's life. Days that were unexpected and rapid. Days that feel like a blur looking back now. Days worrying not only about my brother and if he would live or die, but about my father and if he really understood what was going on. September brought my brother's final day. September 7, my father lost his only son. My sister and I lost our only brother. The whirlwind that surrounded us for nearly a month settled and left the debris of pain and loss in its wake.

As fast as loss and pain over took us, joy and happiness regained its strength and on September 22, Noah William was born. Our third grandchild and our second grandson. This little life could not have joined us at a better time. His birth renewed the sense of life in our family.

Of course there was Paxton's first birthday in November. A day I think that was more fun for Kahlen than Paxton. Poor Bubs wasn't feeling very good that day. He was tired and cranky, but still got that ever so important first experience at opening presents that will serve him well come Christmas.

With all of the wonderful ups and devastating downs of my 51st year, the one thing that my ever so ungraceful fall from the couch on my 51st birthday taught me was this. My fifty second year will be better! There will still be ups and downs, but the fact that I took that fall with out permanently damaging, well.... anything, means what ever this coming year of my life brings, it will be better. I will be stronger, our family will be closer. Things are going to be easier, even if just a little. The tough times won't take as big a toll, and we will come out stronger for them. My 52nd year will bring wonder and happiness. If grief comes calling again, I know, while it may not be easier, God will send us a guardian angel to help us move through it all. Even in the worst of times, we are blessed, we are loved and we are never alone. And in the best of times.... we are blessed, we are loved and we are never alone.

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