Lillian at age one - 1933

Lillian at age one – 1933

As I celebrate my 81st birthday, I look back on some notes I made in 1983 – 30 years have passed, unbelievable!

Tomorrow I’ll be 51 years old.  Life for 50 years has been at times joyful, frustrating, exasperating, full of hope, full of despair, happy and peaceful, exciting, full of promise, loving, surprising (sometimes amazing), full of achievement and fulfillment, always holding the idea that I didn’t know what wonderful things were yet to come.

I think of other years in the “1” category – when I was 11 and in the 6th grade – the girls at school somehow found out my birthday was coming up and when I went to school on that day, each of them had brought me a little gift.  I don’t think any of the gifts were new – just things they had found at home.  I remember a Grimm’s fairytale book, a picture of the Sacred Heart – little things.  I was completely surprised and it was especially nice since that was my last year at that school.

Lillian at age 11 - 1943

Lillian at age 11 – 1943

At 21, it was a very special birthday because I was expecting my first baby.  Grandma gave me my last winter coat as she had promised for every year until I was an adult.  She also gave me a camera which I was able to use for years while the kids were little.

Lillian at age 21 - 1953

Lillian at age 21 – 1953

At 31, we were in our own home in Oakley and the three oldest kids were 3, 7 and 10.  I remember that particular year counting off all the many reasons I was so much better off at 31 than I had been at 30…maybe trying to rationalize for being over 30.

At 41, it would have been the first year we had our dog, May, on my birthday and that was the year my three-year-old youngest daughter made a birthday cake for me with her brother’s help and it seems to me that May got part of it.  

So, now we’re at 51 and looking ahead.  L – September 29, 1983

In the 30 years that have passed, I lost my husband, mother and sister, but I have my four children, a daughter-in-law and son-in-law, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  One son lives with his family in St. Louis, but two of the children and their families live in the area and my oldest daughter has come back to live with me.

Of course, May, the dog, has been gone for awhile, but in the passing years there were several dogs plus a couple of cats  – and now, we have little Addie to keep us company.

Addie and friend - 2013

Addie and friend – 2013

I’m happy and grateful that I have reached the age of 81 and still look forward to good things yet to come.