|OCTOBER 18, 1965|
When I was younger...from very young on up...I can remember that birthdays were no big deal when it came to my own. The person who made the 'biggest deal' over my birthday had to be the person whom I was named after- my Grandma Raymer. We both shared the middle name Louise. And after she passed in January of 2003, my Grandpa Raymer found a wonderful, true friend in Grandma's friend whose first name happened to be Louise! She was certainly the one person who made my Grandpa's last years HAPPY, and as he told me- worth living. Since they both went on to be with JESUS now, I miss them both. But each time my birthday rolls around, I am reminded how they loved all their kids, grands, great, and great-great grands and tried their best to make each one of us feel special. So my mind always looks back to the pile of new clothes, undies, socks, and coloring book, with a fresh box of crayons on top of the pile sitting on top of the washer of the house where I lived my first years. From then on, my memories of birthday gifts from them consisted of $2 in a card every year, and time spent with them. I don't recall many cakes, but the three I remember having were all keepers; marching Mickey Mouse shared with all my friends at a former school I'd just moved away from but got my birthday to go back and visit with them all day at school. *Nyeh-nyeh!!* I was a Teacher's Pet all through elem and Jr High. :p A monkey face cake shared with a Bestie and one older brother closest to me in age. And a Tigger cake shared with another Bestie and same brother- but that cake I decorated myself after my mother baked it. So really, birthdays were not a big deal until I met the ChiefHubby and his family. His Mom usually went way out of her way for each of her kids' birthdays, and that first one I had with them, David took me to another city to roller skate and after we got back to his house, it was sprung on me as a surprise: a Smurf cake his Mom had worked on all that time David had me away from the house! I was 17 that year. And it was the last year I got a special gift from Gr&Gr Raymer: a set of Opal earrings...my birthstone...to celebrate my last 'childhood' birthday. That was the same year David had given me a Promise Ring with his promise to make me his wife. He'd given it to me on HIS birthday for MY birthday which came almost exactly one month after his. After that, the last gift I ever got from my Grandpa was after Grandma died and he'd come out to give me a Mickey Mouse umbrella on my special day. I cherish that thing still alongside the more expensive gifts I've ever gotten- each is equally important to me because of who it came from.
so after our own boys were born, I chose to follow up on their birthdays every year, making a HUGE deal out of them to let them know THEIR birthdays were two of the BEST days of MY life as well as the start and continuation of their own lives. Some years we had big parties and in more recent years- it's been just our own little family, expanded to include celebrations and cakes for their beautiful girls they have brought home to be our 2 daughters- Holli and Ashley. I hope they continue celebrating birthdays as they grow their own families, however they choose. And that they will also continue to help others as we have, celebrating birthdays of those we care about, as much as is possible. It always makes me feel good to do something for someone else that will cause them to smile. I hope my kids saw me do that enough to realize that doing so even when it was rough for me at the time...the effort was worth it all. My photo work was involved in alot of that.
Last year, I took a couple of hours to go off during a camping trip and do some selfie photos just for the fun of it. Most of the photos I have kept over the years don't have ME in them. I am always BEHIND the scenes. (oh. my. gosh. Do NOT open the closet and the drawers with them....there are prob seriously well over 1 million...no joke. Thank GOD for digital or we would have floor-to-ceiling paper photos and albums.) Selfies while I grew up were UNHEARD of. Those were actually ACCIDENTS and you were guilty of stealing attention. But no more! Now, selfies are WAY COOL. Thank goodness, or I'd never be seen in ANYTHING and my One-Day grandkids will look at the pics and say "So. Who is our Grandma and what's she LOOK LIKE??" lol
Yeah, 49 is pretty good....so far. hehe!