So just what did I learn in 2011? I've had a whole week to reflect on that thought. Not that I spent the entire week wondering... 'cuz I did have to play with my new Christmas CD player, you know. And I had to try on my new slippers. And wear them around... to break them in.
Okay, okay. The thought did cross my mind many times during the week. But I just didn't have all the answers. Now I do.
In 2011, I learned about Celiac Sprue aka Celiac Disease. Elizabeth was diagnosed with this illness in May and we all have a good handle on it now. Never mind that little episode in October that sent me flying to Tucson in an awful big hurry. I learned that Celiac Sprue has been the cause of a lot of discomfort for my poor child. I learned that even a speck of gluten consumed by her can send her to bed for days, aching. I also learned that if my child eats at Taco Bell ever again, we can expect to see an awful lot of vomit come out of said child. And I learned that only Stanley Steemer is brave enough to tackle cleaning it up off the floor and walls.
In 2011, I learned to cook a completely gluten free Thanksgiving meal that my child raved about. I was pretty darn proud of it myself. I learned that I am capable of helping my little baby girl have a decent meal on one of my favorite holidays. I also learned that goat's butter and almond milk taste pretty decent, too. Gluten free bread, however, does not.
2011 brought me a trip to California for my dear cousin Amy's wedding. On 11-11-11. I have learned that if one plans a wedding on a beach, in California, on 11-11-11, one had better have a back up plan in case it rains. Even though it never rains in Southern California. 'Cept on your wedding day.
2011 taught me that my cousin Courtney is very talented. She is touring the world with a Broadway bound show entitled "Bring It On - The Musical." I was fortunate enough to see that show in LA on 11-12-11. It was still raining. I'll also be seeing the show on 2-14-12 in Dallas. It better not be raining then. But it probably will be. Just 'cuz.
2011 saw me not only write, but publish, my long dreamed of book of Rick's journey out of Lupus. It suddenly was no longer just talk, it became a tangible book. One that Rick has been very good at marketing for me.
2011 saw Rick finish a project, too. One that he's worked on since 1997, nearly 15 years ago. Rick was shorted his military pension back then, never knowing that there was ever anything out there for him... and once he discovered this, he began battling all of the red tape to get his due benefit. 2011 was the year that Rick learned just who to contact, where that person was and just how to do it. We visited the VA in Dallas, Texas and finally got the ball rolling. It almost doesn't even matter that we've been after this golden ring for 14 1/2 years. Almost doesn't matter, anyway.
I've learned, in 2011, that life is fragile. And no matter how hard you pray, God really does know better about when He is going to call someone home. And we have to accept it. And realize that perhaps God just has a better plan for our lives and for the lives of our dear friends. And as fragile as a life can be... I learned that one man's love for his child can keep him enduring an awful lot of chemotherapy.
I learned that having five free days off of work due to a terrible ice storm is fun. Driving on the ice to get to the only grocery store in town that's open because you didn't stock your pantry is not.
I learned that I can give up caffeine and not have a headache. I had always thought that it was a given that I would suffer tragically. Not ture. I gave it up and I was fine the very next day.
I also learned that there aren't very many good substitutes for diet coke. I then learned to carry a lot of coins in my car for regular stops at Sonic because they DO have a substitute for diet coke. Diet Cherry Limeade. However, I learned that there are no Sonics in California and if you go there for a wedding... you'd better have found something else to drink. And I did. I found diet coke. I will have to learn in 2012 how to give up diet coke again.
And finally, I learned what it feels like to live in Rick's body. He walks around in constant pain, suffering from Scoliosis and awaiting some back surgery. I forget that he's in constant pain and I scold him when the dishes aren't done, etc. I have now learned that I am a big baby when I simply cough and throw my back out... and have to have help with the simple tasks of life. I learned that Rick does not treat me the way that I treat him. I've got a lot to learn in 2012.
2011 was a very good year for the Kahles if you exclude the few health issues we encountered. It was a year of firsts and a year of bests. I directed my very first play... a local dinner theatre production of a Christmas play that I helped to write. It was also the first time that Rick and I were empty-nesters. And it was the best year yet for accomplishments. There was a book written, there will soon be some military compensation for Rick and there was a trip to Capitol Hill in Washington DC to speak to Congress and a few Senators. And to meet up with an old roommate of mine that works in the Pentagon. Yes, it has been our best year yet. It just has.
And now, ladies and gentlemen... may I present to you 2012. May she top 2011 in a big way. And if not, may she at least match it!