Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Favorite Daughter

It's Susan's birthday! 
I guess when one becomes a grandmother (4 times) it isn't nice to give out an age, so I won't.  Just let's say it was a wonderful day in 1963 when she came into our lives.
Our agreement was that her father would name any girls we might have and I got to name the boys.  I'm not quite sure where the name, Susan, came from but it suited her exactly right from day one.  What is even more surprising, she likes her name. 
We called her Susie as a child then Sue as she grew up.  Grandpa F called her Susabelle from the afternoon he met her for the first time until the day he passed.  When trying to get her attention, or to show dismay, she is known as Susan Lynne. 
Sue grew up surrounded by brothers.  This has it's good points and it's drawbacks.  With so many boys around the house, she rarely had to do yard duty.  Something I never realized until after she was married and called me to tell me, "Guess what I did today?  I shoveled!".  Shoveled?  What was so exciting about shoveling?  That is when she let me know it was the first time she shoveled snow...and, by the way, she had recently raked the lawn for the first time too.  Where did I go wrong?
Sue was barely a year old when Eric arrived.  She showed a trait that would be her hallmark from the day I brought him home.  She is a nurturer.  At just over a year old, she took over Eric.  He was her living doll.  So much so, that it was she - not me - who potty trained him.  Sue, just barely out of diapers herself, took this job very serious.
When she was eight months old, we experienced the first of many strep infections that would plague her for many years.  Coming home from a weekend in New Jersey, she was feverish.  By the time we made it to Batavia, it was obvious that something was really wrong.  She not only had a strep infection, but a kidney infection too.  Throughout the years, many stories the boys would tell, would begin with "Sue was sick....". 
The medication she needed to fight these infections always came in a ten day series.  For those ten days she couldn't have dairy products.  It was something she understood and was very mindful to make sure to ask before she ate anything while visiting others. 
She suffered convulsions during these attacks of strep/and or kidney infections.  One episode landed her in the hospital when she was barely three years old.  The medication they gave Sue for the convulsions was extremely bitter.  The doctor recommended that I crush the pill in applesauce to give it to her.  I did.  It didn't take long for her to figure out how to swallow the applesauce and still have the grains of pill on her tongue.  To this day she won't eat applesauce or jell-o (something I gave her often to soothe her sore throats).
Illness aside, Sue did the normal things that all girls do. 
  • If normal includes stepping on a nail and ending up with blood poisoning even though she had her tetnus shot. 
  • If normal includes falling off her bicycle just weeks after her permanent front teeth came in and chipping one in half. 
  • If normal means taking off a choker necklace and having it slip out of her fingers and one end of it stuck in her ear.  Another emergency room run chalked up for Sue. 
  • If normal means eloping while I was in Buffalo buying school clothes for her youngest brother.   Yep, I used to tell people I came home with three pairs of pants, three shirts, and a son in law
She joined the high school band color guard in sixth grade.  Sue was tall for her age.  It wasn't surprising that she carried the American Flag in the honor guard.  For six years, she would stand perfectly still, sometimes in freezing weather, with the flag.  Then she'd be home for ten days with another strep attack.
Yet, she did her parades, walked the carnival grounds, went on band trips and had one heck of a good time. 
All little girls grow up.  Sue and Tom had four beautiful children, T.J., Brian, Sean and Suzanne.  Tom lived long enough to know his grandson, Christopher.  Sue, now a widow, is busy with grandchildren, Christopher, Alana, Aiden, and P.J. 

Tomorrow, we'll have lunch to celebrate her birthday.  Knowing her, she'll probably order something extremely healthy...but maybe - just for a change, she'll want liver and onions.  Time will tell.