February 25th. Billie was born.

Billie LaRene was born on this day in 1944. It was her birthday.

To us it is still her birthday. It has been 10 years since we celebrated her birthday with her. Since her physical departure.

She loved birthdays and made them so special for those she loved. I’m sure we didn’t do the same for hers. But she loved giving. She loved seeing others receive. Her son inherited this trait.

It means we got way too many ‘things’ for every single holiday, especially Christmas. She was far from materialistic in my mind however. It was all about celebration, giving and receiving by others. It also illustrated her opportunity. One that her parents didn’t have. Typical for Boomers raised by Silents.

She had many roles. More than anyone I have known or do know today. Wife, housewife, mother, stay-at-home mom (for our youngest days), sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, cousin, friend, caregiver, hired hand, hay-crew, cattle herder, gardner, church band member, community advocate, artist of all types of paint, chalk and clay, musician of harmonica, piano, banjo and fiddle, and across all of these roles, she was a nurse.

Being raised by a nurse means you learn things about how to take care of minor issues. It means you see care being given to family members, neighbors, and animals. It means you hear stories about care, strife and pain. It means you trust the system of care because you see it through your Mom’s perspective.

Her favorite part of being a nurse was her time with any birth. The OB existed in the big hospitals where she trained but not in the rural hospital where she last worked as Director of Nursing. A new baby being born fueled her for weeks. She even saw hope in the many babies she brought into the world born with fetal alcohol syndrome. They were a new breathing human life. However challenging that life was going to be.

It was very difficult to top Mom’s gift-giving, gift wrapping, party creating talent. One year I recall very well, Dad decided to get her a poodle puppy. We had lost our Chippie the year before and the house was void of a lap dog. It was a family effort and we ‘wrapped’ a small box and put the buff colored toy/miniature puppy inside. She nearly caused the thing a heart-attack when she opened the box expecting something not living and breathing.

She loved it. She loved the surprise. And the puppy. And she loved all of us for making it special. 

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