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There's more to life than taxes, but Happy Tax Day!

Once upon a time. . .

     Once upon a time there was a mother. She had also been a wife for many years, but that time passed. Meanwhile she became a mother-in-law and a grandmother. And then she became a caregiver, which took all her strength and caused her great distress at moments but those moments passed and life returned her to her normal happy self.

     Of course these happy times were interrupted by physical elements such as the horrible hacking cough that attacked her recently and family illnesses—because before she was ever a mother she was a daughter and a sister and a niece to some and a grandchild to others. Best of all was being a great-niece of her Uncle Stanley who introduced her to coffee at a tender age, sitting in a café on Main Street in the small town of Washington, PA. It was only a spoonful but it was loaded with sugar and cream—no sweeteners in those days—and thus the strange new taste on her tongue was most agreeable.

     So agreeable, in fact, that from that day on, at every opportunity to indulge in an ice cream cone, she searched the flavors list high and low looking for. . .  COFFEE!  Today she drinks her coffee hot and black, no sugar, no cream, but every now and then she brings home a carton of coffee ice cream to bury in chocolate syrup and brighten her day.

     These days, the mother tends to her son who needs a little less care each day but will always need assistance of some sort, having been born with cerebral palsy and a mild form of Asperger's. And she cares for Rocco, her daughter's little Shih Tzu, while her daughter is at work or running errands. And her daughter also cares for her son, Paul, to give her breaks now and then. Putting that wheelchair in and out of the trunk of the car is no easy matter.

     The mother's two other sons keep Paul busy with their phone calls and occasional trips out to Starbucks or Fuddruckers, so this mother gets another—badly needed—break. Not to mention, Paul gets a—badly needed—break from his mother.

     Life at the mother's house is good these days, but the mother—and the son, Paul—are pining for a vacation or a road trip to break the monotony of life in El Cajon. They had done a few road trips before Paul's major surgery to replace damaged discs in his neck and they loved every bit of it, but there was no wheelchair then, only a more manageable walker. Easier for the mother to get into and out of the trunk. Easier for the mother to get the walker in and out of the trunk—not herself!

     If only. . . if only Paul could walk again. If only. . . but it is what it is and the mother makes the best of it on most days. Other days she's a bit short and the son calls her a grump—which she readily agrees she is. Life is short. You get to be a grump now and then, the mother claims; otherwise you'd go crazy. Niceness is all fine and good but if you're of the human species, it's near impossible to maintain it through oh-so-many years of life and oh-so-many difficult situations.

     The mother is currently enjoying a mini-break at the local coffee shop, having cast her grumpiness aside for another day. Caregiver, mother, grandmother, aunt and now a great! grandmother! She thanks her God for taking care of her because, as she says, every caregiver needs a caregiver.

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