Someone recently asked me how long I've been appearing in the Times Observer. I told them since April 2007, but my mother reminded me that I first graced the newspaper back in December 1969. Only 21 months old, I was admitted to Warren General Hospital for several weeks because of pneumonia. Any parent who has experienced a hospitalization of a child can relate to my family's feelings of uncertainty and desire to see me healthy again, as well as the pain of separation and longing to see me back home. The illness definitely put a damper on my family's holiday cheer.