We live in a neighborhood that is bustling with young children. Each year, we manage to get around 50 or so trick or treaters. My Sister-in-law brings her daughter over and we make an evening of it with hot dogs and sauerkraut. Because of the amount of people that we tend to have eating dinner, my wife usually relies on her Mother to help her manage the cooking.
This particular year was different. As hordes and hordes of kids depleted our candy stock, my wife was getting overwhelmed in the kitchen when the call came. Her grandmother, who lives in an assisted living facility had fallen and needed to be taken to the hospital. My wife's Mother just happens to be the only one of the kids that takes care of her. She left to g0 to the hospital, leaving my wife with a boiling pot of sauerkraut.
We managed to get through the evening but it was rough. I shouldn't complain since I was sitting at a table eating hot dogs while an 84 year old woman was lying in a hospital with a broken leg.
By this point I had a lot to give thanks for. My wife and I had just found out we were pregnant and we're excited for the holidays. Just after the holiday, my in-laws were on their way to a Christmas party when they got another call from the nursing home. The grandmother had been just out of the hospital with the broken leg and was under orders not to try and get herself out of a chair and into bed. Of course, she disobeyed them and attempted to hoist herself into bed falling again and taking the metal cover from a wall heater with her in the process.
They leave the party after just arriving and spend the evening in the hospital with the grandmother.
Christmas is a special time in my wife's life. Her parents' house gets all decorated and so does ours for that matter. It's like a Yule tide floods the house. On Christmas Eve, her parents have a huge party with tons of food and it really helps put a capper on the season of weight gain. While we were there, my wife began complaining of an itchy watery eye. The next morning she still had an itchy eye and feared a it was pink eye. Usually, we go to her parents' for breakfast to open up gifts and then on to my parents' for dinner. We never made it out of the house. Turns out another call from the nursing home sent her mother back to the hospital. My wife's grandmother began throwing up what looked like coffee grounds that morning. I've been told that this is a tell tale sign of liver failure. We missed out on breakfast because her mom was at the hospital all evening and we missed out on dinner because the chance she did have pink eye.
The next day we got some good and bad news. My wife did have conjunctivitis but her grandmother didn't have liver failure. She had a bleeding ulcer around a hiatal hernia. She went back to the home the next day. The day after that, we were all set to go to my parents' house for my Dad's birthday. My sister misses it because of a horrible bout of flu which in turn my nephew got it. My mother comes down with it next. We are afraid to go anywhere near my parents' because my wife is two months pregnant.
New Year's Eve 2006
We spend all of that Friday, most of Saturday, and part of Sunday cooking, cleaning, prepping for a big party at our house. Midnight dinner on New Year's has become a tradition at our house and both my wife's parents look forward to it. At 11:20 that evening, my Father-in-law decides to bend over to pet our cat and hears a 'POP.' He pulls his artificial hip out of place. Next thing you know, there's an ambulance at our house and by midnight every one is leaving.
We, then, proceed to the emergency room to be with her Mom. We end up staying until 5:00 AM hospital with him. If you ever want to see the downside to partying on New Year's Eve, go hang around an emergency room after midnight. Various drunks and wackos permeate the place and you get to see the effects from idiots drinking and driving.
We left and made it home with just enough time for about two hours of sleep before we had to reset the entire house for dinner with both of our families that evening.
Since then, we have dreaded holidays. In fact, my daughter's due date was July, 7th, 2007. Now, normally, I would think that to be a very lucky number, but with our history, I was ready to get Vegas odds on whether my wife would go into labor on the 4th during a cookout.
Our luck did change and my wife, her grandmother, and every other relative we have stayed out of the emergency room past Independence Day.
For someone who feels so superstitious about holidays, you would think the last thing I would want to do is add any more to my life. However, Father's Day is one of those holidays that mark a milestone like an anniversary or birthday. Granted, the banks and post offices aren't going to close business on November 5th just because I got married. I celebrate with my wife and that's a holiday in my book. With Father's Day I get to celebrate the event that marked a change in my life. One for the better, I might add. Fatherhood has taught me many things. One of which is that you take whatever accolades you can get. Another is that for every bad fish tie and horrible pair of socks you get the joy of knowing that you have someone who loves you enough to bother. It also means that there is a girl or boy who calls you "Daddy" and that is worth more than any seasonal meal undisturbed by a family member's accident or illness.
Just to let you know, my wife and daughter got me a new gas grill for Father's Day. It's better than socks.....but then again, when it comes time for the fourth of July cookout, a pair of socks never landed anyone in the emergency room. I'll still take those odds.