A very special birthday
June 24, 2014
Everybody has one of those dreams, plans, etc. that they know will probably not be fulfilled. I'm not any different than anybody else with one of my own that you will probably think a little unusual.
Just once in my adult lifetime, I'd enjoy having a nice dinner alone with my five sons sans any other family members. Not that I don't love my daughters-in-law. I do, but it would be such fun to be with just my boys and nobody else. The idea of sitting down at the kitchen table remembering events other people would not understand would be wonderful.
It wouldn't matter if it was at home or sitting in a fancy restaurant, or perhaps on the beach watching the waves come ashore in Santa Barbara, Calif., where this all started. But it isn't going to happen anyway, events being the way they are. The boys all have their own lives now, children, grandchildren, jobs and responsibilities. I understand, of course, that they can't make it here from California, but it would have been nice.
Danny, my youngest, has the tremendous responsibility of taking care of his wife who is paralyzed from below her chest. Twice a night he must turn her over, and he has to take care of all of her personal issues, do all of the cleaning and cooking plus working a full time job. And of course Dean, my son who was in that terrible accident is still embroiled with lawyers and doctors and can't get over here, either.
My oldest, Don is retired. However, his wife works full time and they have three dogs and two birds that need attention. Now I don't mean "canary" type birds, I mean those big parrot types that you just don't leave in a cage and say goodbye. It may sound silly, but it isn't easy to find somebody to mind their pets, even for a couple of days.
All of this thinking about what I'm writing now began early yesterday when I woke, as I do everyday as the sun begins its rise. My arthritis was kicking up a storm, and my first cup of java wasn't even in my hands. It was a "feeling sorry for Edna" day, and things just got worse. I was to have lunch with a good friend, Suzy from Jeff's Digitex Printing.
As I was thinking about what time I'd need to leave to meet her, my stomach began to have its own plan for my day. By mid-morning I had to call and cancel our meeting; there was no way I was going to get into town. My good friend told me she had some flowers for me and would it be okay if she brought them after work? I replied, "Of course."
By now my son Doug was up and moving around. We began watching a couple of silly game shows – with my interrupting trips to the bathroom – and then somebody came to the front door and dropped off a package. Turn the TV off," Doug said. I did, wondering what was so important in that package. I thought it was candy from one of the boys, not an unusual gift I often receive for my birthday.
Was I in for a wonderful surprise! Doug shouted, "It's from Senator Dean Heller's office." I know who Dean is, I was thinking. He, Doug and I are friends. However, to be receiving something from him for my birthday, was – to say the least – unexpected. Doug opened the package and handed me the smaller box inside. Inside was a signed plate showing the Great Seal of the United States, with a handwritten personal note. I cried.
Later that evening my friend Suzy arrived after her work, flowers and a large box in hand. She warned my son Doug ahead of time, knowing I'd do that crying bit again, and I did. Inside the box, on a wall mounted plaque, was a proclamation signed by our own Mayor Tedford making June 20 Edna Van Leuven day. All of this has been such a humbling experience.
Then something arrived in the mail that's probably the dearest birthday gift of all; a half dozen colored papers with crayon scribbling from two of my great-grandsons that simply said "Happy Birthday, GG." David, my middle son and their grandfather just called. He and his wife, Wendy, are on their way here from Southern California. I am one damned lucky old lady today.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer.