I haven't done birthday posts this year. And I'm really not about to. But today is different.
Last December my aunt passed away. Today she would be 49.
My aunt was a people person by nature. She had friends and she had her cousins (who all grew up together so they were all best buds). There were stories she would confess to, and then there were the stories she wouldn't. Those are still a mystery to me. :)
Judie loved music. Actually, that's probably an understatement. She knew all the popular, current bands. And that never changed, she knew the popular stuff up until she passed away. Give her a lyric, she could name the song title and the artist. That was just her.
When I was little she spent a ton of time with my brother and me. She let me wear her McDonalds uniform when she came home from work. She taught me to turn her stereo on and off. She had us over for sleepovers all the time. She also tortured us with stories about the cucuy (the Mexican version of the boogeyman for those of you who didn't know). She was the fun aunt.
The last five years or so were rough. As much as she loved people, you couldn't tell that was her nature because she sadly let alcohol get the best of her. She had good days and it was just like the old Judie. She still cooked for me when I came over from college (I attended a college just around the corner from her and my grandparents). We were still close when she allowed it.
I've spent a lot of time with her daughters since she left us. They're twins, juniors in high school. And it's funny how much of her I see sometimes. The other day we were talking about her at lunch because I had talked to them about getting a tattoo in memory of her. I shared a quick story that they didn't know, but they liked hearing. So I thought I'd share it today because I like to think about it too.
Here's a shocker for y'all: hubby and I met online. We talked for about a month before we decided to finally go on a date. Here's the big shocker: we didn't exchange pics or anything. So our first date was pretty much a blind date. I was OBVIOUSLY nervous. I had already told Judie about my date and about an hour before the big date was supposed to happen she called me. She asked me the obvious questions: was I nervous, where were we going, was I excited... then she grilled me and made sure she knew where I would be. In one conversation she was a best friend and a protective aunt. She even offered to go to the restaurant we were going to so she could spy and rescue me if he turned out to be creepy. haha I loved that. I felt so much better when I got off the phone with her. She was the last person I talked to before I met my husband. And she was the first person I called when I got home and gushed over him. :)
That will always be a special memory for me. Even with the turbulent years so recently I still think of her supporting me and being there. So tonight our family is getting together for dinner. And even though there's a decent chance some people will want to bring the drama, I'm blocking them out and thinking of Judie.
Love ya Judie. Happy birthday.