Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Mom and me on a family camping trip
 2013 kind of sucked. I know, that’s a really negative thing for me, the queen of glasses half full, to say, but it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some really great things that happened. Top of mind are:
  • I started two awesome new jobs – one as the director of the bell choir at our church and the other as an administrative assistant to five pediatric orthopedic surgeons at Children’s Orthopaedics of Atlanta. I really do love both of them.
  • Rick’s niece, Stephanie, got married in August to a wonderful man. The wedding was so beautiful and we had such fun.
  • Sara got confirmed, and her godmother, Beth, came for the ceremony. I was so proud of Sara, and so happy to see Beth!
  •  Hannah got her first apartment. That’s kind of a mixed blessing because it does mean that she doesn’t live with us anymore. But she is really happy, and really has her stuff together. I’m really proud of her too!

There are probably more things that I should have listed, but my overwhelming feelings about 2013 swirl around with thoughts of stress, financial worry and depression. So I’m really happy it’s over. Don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out, 2013.

But something happened last week that, while it didn’t change my mind about how crappy the last year was, it did put things in perspective.

On December 20, my mother called me to tell me she was going to the emergency room. That night she was diagnosed with another blood clot. That’s actually pretty easy to deal with – take blood thinners for at least six months and you’re fine (a gross simplification, but hey, I’m not a doctor!).

Unfortunately, the main reason she wanted to go to the ER was that she was in terrible pain in her left hip. On December 26, she called me again and said she was planning on calling 911 because somehow, some way, something had to be done about this bone crushing pain. I went to her house, called 911 because there was no way I could have gotten her to my car, followed the ambulance to Northside Hospital where we met my sister, and hoped that something could be done to help.

The short version is that Mom is going to have a total hip replacement later this month, which isn’t soon enough for any of us, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

My epiphany was not what you might expect. I could say that our health is a gift and we need to treasure our bodies and keep ourselves as fit as possible, and it would be true. I could say that we should treasure our parents because they will not always be here with us, and that would be true as well.

But what has really hit me hard is the fact that, at least in my family, none of us is ever alone. All Mom had to do was call, and Carole and I were there immediately. Phillip, who lives in Knoxville, made it clear that he'd drop everything and be here if we needed him. Carole, Phillip and I communicated throughout the whole thing, making sure that everyone knew what was going on. Carole was here multiple times over the past week while Mom was staying with me. Hannah was here on Saturday too, and Rick and Sara helped while Carole and I were at work earlier this week.Phillip's coming in tomorrow. No matter what, my family sticks together. And for that I am more thankful than I can say. We’re damn lucky. 

Phillip, Carole and me in Clarkesville, Virginia