We are not sure why, but we laughed until we were physically sore during the holidays.
Maybe it was the weekend company, Candice (Gavin's godmother), Geri and Gary; maybe it was the fresh snow, the hot buttered rum or the case of wine from Denver; maybe it was watching and videotaping Gavin as he tore through presents with sheer determination while checking to see if Santa had eaten the cookies we'd left out.
Alas, maybe it was just the simple fact that God had helped us to persevere 2009 and to look with optimism toward all the possibilities of 2010. (Nope, the jimmy crack corn butt photo was not staged.)
As you can see from the pictures, Gary is thriving. People keep asking us "is he the same?" We answer,"yes; the same and different all at once." His long term memory is extremely accurate, his mid-term (what happened a few days ago) is good. Focusing on the day at hand, is a bit challenging, but no more than it is for the rest of his family! His ability to stay focused on a task runs par with his Mom's and brothers so I'd say he is doing stupendously. In fact, he is doing so very well...we decided to take him sledding and see how he'd fly!
Six months post-stroke and 75lbs lighter he hauled ass, screaming all the way down!
Following a brave and daring climb up the moving carpet, with a huge crowd, he made it to the top of the runs. As we watched him move upward in the line, we had no idea, (and were not smart enough to investigate) the fact that there was no handrail, no tow-rope, not Jack-shit to hold onto~except your own sled. I watched with nervous excitement and some fear, wondering "what the hell did we do?"
I finally sighed with some relief after he got to the top and instead of asking for an escort back down the hill, he hopped onto his sled. After coming to a complete stop, Gary decided the run was MORE than enough excitement for the day, and had some hot cocoa while he contemplated his accomplishment and the BEANS it took to achieve. WAY to go Uncle!
Our budding entrepreneur, Candice, is slated to launch a very innovative product in 2010, following months of patenting, product engineering and planning. We wish her much success and know that her Dad must be very proud of her all over again as he looks down upon her. Honestly, having her, and her pup, Tula, sleep on our couch for two nights was the best kind of present. Gavin was in heaven.
More fun continued through today as El Nino' is kindly and regularly dumping more snow than we have seen in a decade. No, not like Tahoe, but not bad for our mountains. We have been sledding and plan on skiing now that the base is built above us. The tourists are back so they are pumping money into the local engine. You have never seen so many Texans and Mexicans fall, crash and wreck due to lack of snow experience and lack of appropriate gear! Pretty funny.
In closing, Happy New Year to all of you! May 2010 bring you the basics like employment, health care and perspective. For more on our year see our annual "Collins' Top Ten" list below.
COLLINS FAMILY TOP TEN
MEMORIES FOR 2009
1. Finally, able to take a full breath, following the news that Gary had successfully exited from his 3rd brain surgery.
2. Picture a jam-packed performance theater, second-row orchestra seating for
“The Nutcracker” …The Nutcracker himself enters the stage and Gavins, yells “is that the guy who cracks nuts?”
3. Joyful to see Uncle Gary’s sense of humor fully intact as he asks Ness if her costume ring was a “Walmart special!”
4. Proud parents look on as we watch Gavin repeatedly launch 8-10’ urine streams off of any and all platforms; hot tub decks, patios, pickup beds, his playhouse etc.
5. Overcoming the weirdness of cleaning/emptying out and uncluttering three houses in less than one calendar year, none of which do we reside. Ugh.
6. Ready to take on the world, in his usual sleepy morning self-mode, Eric accidently puts on two, yep two, belts with his work pants. Ness is certain one belt was for a rogue employee!
7. We cringed to hear, “Mom, my butts scratching.” And “Mom, why is my poop blue?”
8. Underestimating, the closeness derived from a Grandparents proximity, as we watched Gavin learn to sew, build, bake, remodel and organize salvage metal during his weekly visits with Mema and Papa at Grandpa Tim’s old house this year.
9. “If you hit the crapper, you’re a dead man!” True words spoken by Ness to the front-loader operator while he began digging a natural gas-line trench, frighteningly close to our septic tank. Yeah…..we are finally getting rid of that unsightly propane tank.
10. Gavin in pursuit of a silver lining; “Mom, sometimes I pick my nose, but at least I don’t eat it like my friends at school.”