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Duchnowski: Sharing a birthday with a very special guy

Jacqui Noelle Suzanne Finch didn’t want to risk having her second daughter being born on her birthday.

“I talked to my doctor and said: ‘No, no, no, this is the day she will be born,’” said Finch, of DeKalb.

Her younger daughter, originally due Dec. 23, was born Dec. 19. Her other daughter was born Dec. 29. Finch is a Christmas baby: She turns 39 today.

It’s how she got her first middle name. It’s why, when she was younger, she sometimes celebrated her half-birthday so her friends would be available for parties. And, it’s a plight she shares with at least a few other DeKalb County residents.

“You’re never, ever at school on your birthday when your birthday’s on Christmas,” she lamented.

Finch’s mother had some firm rules to make her feel special on the birthday she shares with Jesus Christ: Christmas presents are opened in the morning, and then everything is put away in the afternoon so Finch can open birthday presents, which never were wrapped in holiday paper.

Even now, Finch goes to her mother’s on her birthday – ahem, Christmas – and isn’t allowed to cook or clean up.

It’s not a big deal for Marcus Woodson, of Genoa. He’s turning 24 today, and he’s expecting to celebrate with 30 or so people at his house ... for Christmas. His cousin’s wife also was born on Christmas.

He figures it’s just a normal day, but his mom says otherwise.

“She always says I’m the best Christmas present she’s ever got,” Woodson said.

Meanwhile, Ashley Keely’s mom kept her Christmas birthday special by letting her pick out what the family had for dinner. She frequently picked steak, but this year, for her 23rd birthday, the family will be dining on ribs and mashed potatoes.

“Normally, I’ll go to my mom’s house, and we celebrate Christmas in the morning and then later, probably around 5, we’ll celebrate my birthday,” said Keely, of Sycamore. “It’s kind of cut in half.”

In a way, it seemed like everyone was celebrating a birthday on Christmas. Often, friends were out of town or too busy with family to celebrate her birthday.

“My sister’s birthday is on July 3, so every time it was her birthday, she always got to have her friends stay the night,” Keely remembered.

So, if you run into one of this trio – or another local resident celebrating a birthday today – be sure to wish them a happy birthday and take a moment to make them feel special. When there’s so much to celebrate this holiday season (generous friends, loyal family, healthy children, rewarding jobs), surely you can find a little time for more celebration.

And maybe, just maybe, we can all celebrate Buddy, the lost dog, coming home today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

• Jillian Duchnowski is the Daily Chronicle’s news editor. Reach her at 815-756-4841, ext. 2221, or email

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