It's snowing outside and a balmy 14 degrees when we just drove home from lunch with Daddy. I'm still deciding if it's my extreme and sometimes illogical optimism that makes me enjoy the four seasons of Colorado, or if I'm just trying to fake myself into being happy somewhere with four seasons after having grown up in "Weather Nirvana" (read: the San Francisco Bay Area, South Bay to be exact) where it's basically between 50 and 80 degrees for 95% of the year. I guess I'll never know. I'll just keep enjoying the beautiful whiteness and quiet outside my window (which is a stark contrast to what's usually happening inside my window...).
We've had quite a month here at the Owens' Home. The Holidays ended, and we headed into 2011. On January 5, my Mom had a re-do of the foot surgery she had last Spring that wasn't totally successful. She'll be non-weight baring again for 3 months. On January 6, Tim's Dad, Grandpa Joe, had major back surgery. My Mom recovered nicely from her surgery, mostly due to the fact that she already knew what to expect having just lived through the horrible procedure 8 months earlier. Grandpa Joe's "recovery" was awful. Any pain medication they put him on gave him a bad reaction: delirious, trying to rip out IVs, etc. So they just had him on Tylenol. Tylenol? He had a 17" incision on his back, two vertebra fused together, and a rod put in his spine. He's finally home now after a week in the hospital and two weeks in an extended care facility.
Then, on January 7, we got some horrible news. A dear friend had died suddenly from a congenital heart condition he hadn't known about. Matt Empey was one of my best friends' older brother and my older brother, Dan's, best friend. It was such a shock. The Empeys have been such an important, positive influence on so many families. We all gathered to celebrate his life over the holiday weekend of the 17th. Matt was an ER physician, the favorite uncle, the big brother, brilliant, a great friend. I just can't really imagine how the world could possibly go on without him.
I had just gotten home from the weekend in CA and sort of started to get back into the routine of daily life when I got a call last Monday night. My Mom told me that Keith, my brother-in-law, had called an ambulance for Catherine, my sister. She had sudden onset of excruciating pain in the back of her head. When they got her to the hospital, the preliminary scans seemed to show a ruptured brain aneurysm. They sped her to the bigger hospital in Provo. They had to shave her head and put in a drain to stop the swelling from damaging her brain. Later that day, they discovered that it had not been a ruptured brain aneurysm but just rupturing of blood vessels (smaller than a main artery/vein) at the back of her head. She stayed in the ICU for another 5 days to be monitored and to try to get the pain under control. She's now in a normal wing of the hospital, but the pain is still unbearable. Nothing really touches it.
So, here I sit blogging about this wild month. I think I'm just sort of using this chance to write it down as a moment to process it all. It's helping me feel less worried that my house is a disaster area. Well, okay, it's not too bad. I mean, it's definitely been worse, but I just feel so behind on everything. I feel like I've spent more time on the phone in the last three weeks than I have since middle school. On the one hand, it's been a luxury to talk so frequently to people that I love so much: my sisters-in-law, "old" friends (meaning friends from 20+ years ago, we're not 40 yet :)), my parents, my sister, my brothers, my cousins. On the other hand, it's always been about such heavy stuff. It's made us all think, "Hey, why don't we take the time to talk to each other in the good times, too?". Why did it have to take a brother's funeral for all of us to get together again after talking about it for 5+ years? So, this month has been mixed with sadness and blessings. I guess that's just how most months are, if you think about it.
A great thought from Ward Conference yesterday: (Ward Conference is an annual meeting of our congregation (our Ward) with leaders from the Stake (the entity that is formed by all the Wards in the town of Fort Collins. There are about 8 congregations here.)
Our Bishop (the lay leader (or unpaid volunteer) of our congregation) was giving us some spiritual advice. His theme for the year is: Building Our Faith in Four Ways - 1.Pray 2.Study 3.Obey 4.Serve. Under "obey" he discussed how we need to be careful what we consider our "burdens" and how we share those with others. For instance, he has a good friend who is a billionaire. This friend complains about how much of a burden it is to have to find appropriate tax shelters for his millions of dollars. Also, the Bishop has another friend who always complains about how hard it is to pack for her annual trip to Hawaii. The congregation sort of chuckled. Obviously, he said, most of us wouldn't consider those two things a burden. But it made me think. What do I do that is similar in my life? Then, the thought came to me. My six children are worth more than millions of dollars and are more valuable to me than a week's vacation, and yet I complain about them as if they were a burden sometimes. I know there are some people out there who could only dream of the joy, blessings, happiness, and love that come from these six monkeys who drive me so crazy most days. It was a great way to re-think. What a blessing they are to me. Sure, it's loud. It's messy. But I really wouldn't trade it for anything. Not even for millions of dollars or a trip to Hawaii.
So, in some ways, good riddance to January 2011. But also, thank you to January 2011. You've helped me re-align or re-think some things.
Now, why is that baby crying? I put him down for his nap only a half hour ago. He usually takes a 2 to 2.5 hour nap. I'm off...
|Here's what Saturday morning looked like, watching cartoons. Lindsay was still in bed. She is, after all, almost a teen-ager.|
|The kids always bring out their radio. Here's Julia dancing to Michael Jackson, the kids' favorite even before June of 2009, as the kids always make sure to point out.|
|The Group Shot. I love the girls' hair.|