Giving birth to your first child tends to dominate your thoughts in the moments immediately after the delivery, so Heather Philbrook can be excused for not thinking 12 years into the future.
Thankfully, she had a nurse for that.
It was a nurse who first informed Philbrook that her son, Joshua Raymond, would turn 12 on Dec. 12, 2012. And Philbrook is the first to admit that her child turning 12 on 12/12/12 wasn’t something she’d ever considered leading up to the birth, nor especially in the immediate aftermath of the morning’s events – which took place at 6:12 a.m., for what it’s worth.
“Absolutely not,” Philbrook said. “His due date was the 13th and he just happened to come a day early. A nurse was the one who noticed it and said something. I said, ‘Wow, obviously you are thinking way ahead.’ ”
Twelve years later, Raymond – a student at Rundlett Middle School – is set to celebrate the milestone birthday this month, with a family gathering at Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” Raymond said. “It make me feel kind of special, like the gifted child.”
Gifts? Did someone say gifts? Proving that the No. 12 isn’t coded into every strand of his DNA, Raymond struggled to come up with a dozen things he wanted for the special day, though his eclectic list did include a pitbull, $20, tickets to a movie, a snowmobile, a tablet, for his family to win the lottery, a Chevy Tahoe, an iPod Touch and a new house in the country.
Raymond is enjoying his developing celebrity, his docket in the coming days slated to include an interview from WMUR, as well. But although he admitted that he’s “been known to like the attention,” it’s Philbrook who has been most eagerly awaiting the big day.
“I think it’s more me being excited about it than him,” she admitted. “For the last few years on his birthday I kept reminding him that it was coming up. I just remember last year a lot of people did something for 11/11/11, so I said, ‘I’ve got to remember that for Josh’s birthday.’ ”
Raymond won’t be the only person celebrating in the halls of Rundlett, either, as two classmates share the birthday and are also turning 12. The celebration will continue at school, too, as Raymond said his social studies teacher gives cookies to people on their birthdays and another teacher gives out birthday cards.
A student in Concord for nine years, Raymond has developed a fondness for his surroundings.
“I really like it. I love my teachers, they are so awesome,” he said.
Winter, too, is awesome for a family that makes weekly treks to a camp in northern New Hampshire. That camp is “where all the fun stuff happens,” according to Raymond, and is where he developed an affinity for numerous winter activities, including snowmobiling. Need proof? The item doesn’t just appear on his birthday wish list.
“He’s always been an outdoors kind of kid. And he’s really big into anything with motors. He rides a four-wheeler and a dirt bike and he thinks he’s getting a snowmobile for Christmas,” Philbrook said.
Having a birthday so close to Christmas isn’t always ideal, but Philbrook said the family has always done a good job of celebrating the two events separately. One of Raymond’s favorite annual traditions is his celebration with his grandparents, who take him to dinner – usually at the 99 Restaurant – and then to a store for him to select one gift for each occasion.
Raymond’s not only punctual – who is actually born just a day before his or her due date, really? – but also appears to have some sort of magnetic powers, as well, as evidenced by the selection of Cabela, the family’s 1 ½-year-old lab mix.
The family was sorting through a litter of puppies trying to make a decision, but Cabela refused to leave Raymond’s side, coming back every time he put her down. That pretty much made the decision for them.
“She clearly chose Josh,” Philbrook said.
Josh, meanwhile, chose one heck of a birthday, although his mother is wondering if 12 years of anticipation will whip by faster than the speed of light.
“I always save some little things that stand out from each birthday and this will definitely be that way. When he turned one, I remember really kind of starting to think about (this year). It’ll be kind of neat; hopefully, we can slow the day down and savor it. Because it will be over before you know it.”