Wednesday 26th January 2022

Remember. 32/51. #LifeThisWeek. 97/2021.

Remember. 32/51. #LifeThisWeek. 97/2021.

Remember? Oh yes, that’s right. We had our daughter 50 years ago last week.

“50” years …wow. Indeed.

We became parents at 21. Mind, you back then 21 meant we were already working and in permanent employment with the N.S.W. Department of Education. My husband was in his 4th year as a teacher, I was in my 2nd. Now, I look at our granddaughters who are older (just) than 21 and in different employment and life-style situations than us. Not a judgement at all. It shows the ‘gap’. Our daughter was around 25 when she became a Mum and did not get permanent employment in teaching until some years after that.


Our daughter does not like the spotlight nor this amount of attention but I sense given it’s her 50th we are celebrating, and it’s lockdown, then all on-line I get some leeway! On the day, she was teaching remotely, supervising her grade (she is a relieving Asst Principal at the moment) and making sure her youngest stayed on task for home-learning

During the weeks before her birthday I posted a care pack of favourite biscuits to savour at home, and some presents and a card for the day. I also sent later on the two blog posts relating to her birth year and some memories in photo collages.


More times to remember…

We celebrated with a family zoom….can’t can share the  one image &  we did have fun.

She LOVED her birthday that was at home…with her whole school staff, arranging a staff meeting (all on zoom) to sing her Happy Birthday and they delivered little cakes and a huge bunch of flowers. I made her smile…with a beautiful message via instagram from our fave author Trent Dalton. He mentioned how much he values teachers too. Aww.

A few more photos to remember her stories before 50th Birthday.

1991. K at 20, with Mum & Me.


With her brother’s family and hers, our daughter managed this magical photo shoot. Always remember the sweet surprise when I got the big photo on canvas and book for my 70th birthday.


18th Birthday for only son. We enjoyed being back celebrating too. With the fam!


Thank you for our Anniversary Cake, K.

My Birthday cake made by my daughter.


Glad I got this shot! Thanks KT, I know it’s not your fave thing to do. Brunch by ourselves in Jan 2021. A rarer than rare occasion in covid.


Our first born with a first born Mum and fifth born Dad.

We love you and always remember how it was to become YOUR parents back in 1971!

Mum and Dad.

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  1. It’s strange thinking of our kids at that age. I look at Sarah, 23, and realise that I was living with Grant, we’d just moved into our first house in Canberra and had a mortgage. She seems so much younger…yet I suppose my parents thought the same. Happy 50th to your daughter.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      How much time affects us when we look back. And we thought we were doing well then too. Now, as you think about Sarah…

      I think Jo, you are onto something there about what our parents must have thought. Both sets of our parents were “NOT” that keen on our sudden engagement news…but, over time, 50 yrs now, we proved that wrong…LOL


  2. If we’ve learnt anything form last year, we have to make the most of opportunities to catch up in person – because they get snatched away from us ever so quickly! Lovely post with lots of fond memories.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Yes that is true Lydia. I remember how lovely it was to see the family in person after the gaps of time in 2020.

      This time, however, seems so messy and unco-ordinated for some of our longed-for freedoms to be returned.

      Glad we could celebrate virtually though, but feeling sad for Miss 24 by herself and not able to visit family as they are in Blacktown LGA!


  3. Happy 50th birthday to your daughter. Thank you for sharing your lovely family photos.

  4. What beautiful photos and memories. You must be so proud. Happy 50th birthday to your daughter! 1971 FTW! Good vintage.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      I reckon 1971 kids are the best too!!

      I have memories of my daughter’s friends from primary school and high school and now they too are going to be 50. I remember them all doing the HSC together in 1989!!

      Thanks Ness for good wishes. Great vintage indeed.


  5. Beautiful post with touching memories. My eldest turns 47 this year. That really does my head in as it only seems like yesterday that he arrived into our world. I love all your happy, family photos. Such a shame that you weren’t able to celebrate together. But you have made the most of a difficult situation

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you so much Jennifer. I think because we knew way ahead that the lockdown would continue it gave us all the chance to plan something for our daughter that could be sent.

      As she was teaching in lockdown I knew fave biscuits would help each morning tea time so felt best to send ahead for that reason. She tells me she has eked them out too.

      She was a bit hard to find some photos for though. A lot like her Dad in that.

      Yes, time is a weird thing when the 1980s seemed only 20 years ago…


  6. Oh Denyse this was just so special! I love the sentiments and all the photos but that last one with you as new parents with your smiling happy baby just made me go ‘awwww, how sweet!’
    It must be so hard during these lockdown times when you want to celebrate but can’t do it the way you want to and have to find an alternative. I love the fact you made her favourite biscuits and got Trent Dalton to wish her well on her special day too – how fabulous! Just such a lovely post :). Happy birthday to your daughter and congratulations to you and B as well for being her parents and bringing her into the world.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Debbie.

      I look at us, and our changing faces and more and go, woah, so much has happened in those 50 years but still, I do remember one of my parents taking that last photo as we stayed with them most school hols. I think we were off to a Christening or something. My long hair gone too, because it was very tempting for one wee baby to grab and pull.

      She is not as keen on photos like her Dad but I managed to do OK with taking photos of photos and having my photo file in a semblance of order. I made her a 50 with a collage of 50 photos and 50 words to describe her. “I must have a lot of time on my hands:” true!

      The Trent Video was a masterstroke. Having met him way back in 2019 I thought why not ask..and next thing I knew there he was. It was so lovely all he said to her. About teachers in his life and that of Eli Bell. What a kind man!

      Your kind wishes are gratefully accepted. I sent her a link to the post but with her teaching all day unsure she will get to see it.


  7. I hope your daughter had a wonderful 50th Birthday! xx

  8. Hi Denyse, what a beautiful post! It’s full of love and so many treasured memories. Happy 50th birthday to your daughter from me up in Brizzy! What a beautiful collection of photos – so special! When your daughter was born I would have been 7 years of age. I hope she had a wonderful day on her birthday. It certainly looks as though she did!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you so much Min. I have kept photos in a semblance of order over the past few years so I can make collages and more and it has paid dividends.

      She enjoyed her birthday very much despite not being able to have her eldest at home because of Covid.

      Funny thing about age isn’t it?


  9. It’s amazing how time flies isn’t it Denyse? I bet it only feels like yesterday that she was a small child. I think of that with our own kids – we found some school projects etc that we’d saved (from our son’s primary school days) and it brought back some lovely memories. We plan to give them to him (although he’ll probably just chuck them in the bin!). Happy birthday to your lovely daughter and to you – seeing you did all the hard work in the delivery room and in raising her to be the woman she is today xx

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you Leanne. Yes, you get it for sure.

      We have done similarly with some of our kids’ memorabilia. What they do with it is up to them because there comes a time we can’t keep it all.

      Yes, I sometimes forget how hard it was to become a mother at 21. I was fine at being a teacher…but a mother…that took some doing. However, we have, of course, as parents raised a daughter who had quite a different life for her first 7 years, being with as a teachers living and working around NSW. Her brother didn’t arrive until we had settled in Sydney.

      I felt a lot of pride watching her now adult children (the first 3 g’kids of ours are in their 20s) spoiling her as much as they did on the actual birthday.

      Thanks for your kind words,


  10. I enjoyed seeing all your family photos. Such precious memories!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you Shiju, I am always grateful I took all those photos and don’t listen to anyone who complains about me doing this because they all enjoy seeing the memories later!


  11. What lovely photos and special memories you have there Denyse. I love the shout-out from Trent Dalton. What a great idea!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Deb. I was so delighted when Trent sent me the message for her. He is the kindest soul and so downright modest.


  12. It’s always a bit of a shock to hear peers talk about their adult children. I feel like I just turned 50 myself…OK it was over 10 years ago, but feels like yesterday! I love doing remember-when reviews on those big days – big year birthdays or big year anniversaries. You seem to have photos for every thing! Our family wasn’t big into photo taking, and my lack of photo taking reflects that upbringing. I sometimes do wish we had more pictures!

    • Oh thanks so much Patricia. Isn’t age a funny concept!

      I did take quite a few photos way back before iphones and they all has to be printed and we couldn’t always know what would come back.

      We did have many more photos later in our family life because I guess, I became more keen. Over the years each of our kids, and then their combined 8 kids (first half captured by film, second half on phone) have had more taken but I also compiled over time memory books for them and my parents too. I like it a lot and it’s something that I bring to my blog now I look at it.

      Yes, having a 50 yo daughter is confronting but life keeps moving on…and our eldest granddaughter turns 25 this year!! Kids into Adults. Wow.

      I am sorry you don’t have the photographic records now that might have been. I say, even when someone in my family gets cross about “just one more photo” is that I am making memories for them too.


  13. 1971 was a good vintage! Happy Birthday to your girl! You must be so proud, I bet you can’t believe your “baby” girl has turned 50. I don’t know about you but my mum always used to tell me that no matter how old I got, I’d still be her baby! The photos are fabulous and so many magical memories. I hope you can get to celebrate in person when we get unlocked.

    • Yes I understand how your Mum must have felt too, Sammie.

      I don’t see her as our baby nor our son, but I am very sentimental about our grandkids who are now 24 to 6. I remember so much more of their growing lives probably because I had more time and love to give to them…and they went home again…as I was in a different time of my life.

      My career and being a parent of two with an age range of 7 years along with a not well husband in those years 1979-1983 meant I was in busy and survival mode.

      Fortunately, B did become well over time but it’s been a factor I cannot dismiss. Of course, we are both very grateful for our kids and now their kids and now, to be “just us” but a marriage of 50+years too is also incredible and we are as they say #blessed.

      Yes, Sammie, for you memories may sustain you at times but there was nothing like your mum’s presence in your life and I am so sorry her life was cut short. You are much loved my many including me and B. Always remember that.

      Looking forward to our eventual catch up.


  14. Happy birthday to your daughter! What a lot of lovely memories wrapped up in there. Hope you get to catch up in person soon.

  15. Getting Trent Dalton to wish your daughter!! That’s amazing, Denyse! Happy 50th to her! These are such lovely memories over the years.

    • I thought you would be impressed about asking Trent to share a message to K.. My daughter certainly was! Shall share it when we have that catch up coffee!!

      Thanks Sanch, I reckon the 50th is probably a distant memory now back in teaching/supervising mode at home!