Happy Birthday, Frankie!

This is one of the three happiest days of my life. The day I first became a Mom. I was the ripe old age of 19 1/2, and my son was born the morning after his dad finally went back to his Army Post in Fort Eustis, Virginia. It was quite exciting. For once in a very long time, my dad and three brothers all woke up the first time Mom called them to wake up. All she had to add was, “I think Kathy’s in labor.” They scattered like there was a prize for getting out of the house first. She went to the beauty shop to have her beehive hairdo brushed out and re-done quickly. No time for a shampoo.

The sad thing is I remember nothing of his birth and little afterward. My first memory of him was a Demerol induced fog through the nursery window from my bed on the way to my room. When I finally got to hold him the next day, he looked nothing like the memory made me think he would. That was sad. But he was beautiful. All 7 lbs, 9 3/4 ounces of him, I think he was 21 inches long. His dad came back the next day instead of before the birth. My mom thought that was best for me.

The 1970s were crazy times. That happy little baby kept me sane. And has kept me sane his whole life. He was a great big brother to Nick and Becky as he got older. My life was very blessed with this kid. He has an unreal understanding of life and what goes with it. In his 49 years, he’s risen from every low spot he’s been in. He’s helped me when I’ve had major surgery, gotten me moving to recover sooner, and been my partner in Christmas shopping. I miss those times.

Life has scattered his brother and sister to Missouri and Colorado. We rarely see them with strange work schedules, etc. They were all together eleven years ago on Thanksgiving, when I had a lumpectomy for breast cancer. It was a fun time and I hope to be able to do it again.

As of today, it’s eleven years since I’ve become cancer free. It alternately seems like a long time, or a short time, whichever way you look at it. I’m less afraid of it returning than I was at first, and still know it could recur. That’s the gamble there is. But for now, I’m thanking God each and every day to have my life, my family, faith, and friends. I am indeed a blessed woman. I picked this day to have surgery. It had always been a special, blessed day. I was hoping that would continue. It has.

Today was Mom’s day to get a perm after I got my haircut. I have another hour before I can go pick her up, and it is interesting sitting here in Panera’s watching people. I snagged a corner back booth. They route you in, through the store, and out the back door, so no people are standing around without social distancing. I do appreciate it, and it seems like they may be on to something.

And their Broccoli Cheese Soup! It’s so good. It was a treat, for sure. I could not have done this fifty years ago. I would have been a bundle of nerves, felt like a loser, and all sorts of negative stuff. Not now. I kind of enjoy the quiet.

I think of my kids playing together, making stuff up because we were too poor to buy video games. That’s ok. They worked, they inherited that from both their parents. My family always goes the extra mile, maybe tending towards workaholism, while their Did what was required, finished early, and was done.

I remember when he left, we got a puppy a couple months later. It was good for them to take care of the puppy. It did us all good. Shadow lived 16 1/2 years. A very long time, and she was a very good girl. She lived until the Babe and I got married, in 1998. He went with me to see her go to the Rainbow Bridge. What a sad thing, the first time we did it. We’ve been there three more times and will a couple more, probably.

I’m meeting Frankie for his birthday lunch Friday. We don’t see each other often, but we talk, and laugh a lot. It’s how family should be. We are lucky to have grown up together. And we’ve had many heated disagreements. Together. And we get over them. Like family should. He’s an exceptional friend to many, a reliable worker, loved by coworkers and managers alike. He adds a lot to life, not just my life but to everyone’s. At the age of 49 (WHAT?), he’s lived a quiet life. A good life. A satisfied life.

Those are all great qualities we all should have to get through all this pandemic and unrest. We should all come out together on other side better people. Thank you for reading today. Do you have a special day? Tell me about it. I’ll see you again tomorrow. Be Calm. Be Kind. Be Careful out there.

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