On Saturday, my dad's side got together for our annual Christmas celebration. A Christmas that has grown so much over the years that we were forced out of Grandma's house on Pine Street to the Amvet Hall across town. A family made up of 5 kids and their spouses, 18 grand-kids and their spouses, and now, 23 GREAT grand-kids (no spouses yet). I am one of the eighteen, sandwiched somewhere in the middle. When we all get together, you can literally see genes and family histories rich at work. Like the fact that although they're from different families, Ryan clearly resembles Joey, while both remind me of pictures of Grandpa Hank when he was young. And Lily is the spitting image of Jenny, and Wrigley the spitting image of John, but Anna and Henry are a good mix. And what's even more amazing to me, is that in the center of it all, the genes and personalities and family histories, is Grandma Gail, aka, one of the most amazing women I know.
In all reality, Grandma isn't really supposed to be here. In September, she had a nasty fall on the concrete after playing bingo, and was airlifted to Iowa City with potential brain damage. She was completely bruised up, and the doctors found a bleed on her brain. At 89 years old, her prognosis of course wasn't great, but because she's always been so healthy and active, I don't think any of us really registered the seriousness of her injuries. That is, until the doctors called my dad and his siblings to Iowa City one day to discuss her living will. This is when it became real.
That was on a Thursday. And in between that Thursday and the following Saturday, Grandma became our miracle. A talking, alert, and expressive Grandma who was hungry for fish and recognized every one of her grand-kids and great grand-kids in the room. After that night, I knew things would be okay. I knew we'd be able to keep her in our lives awhile longer.
Fast forward to today. After a few weeks in Iowa City, followed by a detour to the nursing home for therapy, Grandma is home and looks better than ever. She may not be perming her friends' hair, or serving eggs and bacon for the senior citizens in town quite yet, but she was at Christmas, watching the mess of kids she helped create and presenting 23 great grand-kids with 23 handmade Christmas ornaments---an ornament that will hang on our tree and remind us of Christmas miracles for the rest of our lives.