I had a birthday recently. I’ve always disliked birthdays, since my teen years. My parents always made my birthday special as a child, not with lavish parties and gifts, but with special birthday dinners, cake and small gifts, except for the year I got a new piano. That was the best day ever, but I digress . . .
The bad birthdays started in my teen years when came down with Scarlet Fever on my birthday. I know it sounds very Victorian, but I assure you I’m not that old.
In later years my boyfriend (later husband, now ex-husband) forgot my birthday completely, more than once. I’ve never had the party with the girlfriends kind of birthdays either, for a lot a reasons, beyond the scope of this post. And then there was the first birthday right after the wedding, the separation and some bad ones since then.
This year I decided to pretty much ignore my birthday. I couldn’t really do anything because it coincided with one of my kid’s big events . . . so I just let it go.
But the people who have come in and out of my life over the years, many of whom I have written about here, remembered.
1. My best friend and her husband stopped by with a musical card (hours of fun), a little cake, and a big gift card for me. They didn’t stay very long, but I appreciated the thought and the gifts more than they know.
See my tribute to her on “To My Best Friend on Mother’s Day”
2. One of my married male friends sent me a text, hoping he got the date right. (He didn’t, but that didn’t matter.) He wished me well and told me I don’t look my age. This guy has done things for me like shown up with an air conditioner and installed it when my house was making us melt and he repaired a pane of glass after my daughter decided to play ball in the family room. And most importantly, he checks in on me just to see how I’m doing.
He’s one of the men I was thinking of in “Friends Without Benefits — Married Men.”
3. My Admirer sent me a Happy Birthday text, and when I thanked him for remembering he replied, “You are a smart and beautiful woman whose inner beauty radiates so brightly. I won’t forget you.”
It made me smile. I haven’t seen or talked to this man in years.
4. An old friend, who defies any type of categorization, wished me Happy Birthday via voice mail; I was at my kid’s event and couldn’t answer my phone. I saved the message.
I’ve referenced him in, “We Thought You Were Dead, Mommy.”
5. I even got a birthday text from my Stalker. I did not respond.
It feels good to be remembered, thought of.
Well, the Stalker text is a little disconcerting, but still . . .
Just Me With . . . people.
And even though I’m all grown up, my parents called and sang to me (a family tradition) and my Mom gave me a card with money in it.
. . . and the quirky child gave me a card and a CD.
The day I became a mother — otherwise known as my son’s birthday — is today. He’s 15. I haven’t had a good week with my Ex-husband, and my episodic depression is rearing its ugly head, so I’m a little more pensive than usual. I think back to my fears when I was pregnant that first time. I’d read too many magazines and seen too many articles, not unlike what we all see today online, about how having children takes the spontaneity out of life, that romance dwindles. I was an employment attorney at the time so I dealt daily with glass ceiling issues and the “Mommy Track” — so while I was ridiculously happy about having this planned child, I was also afraid that it would ruin my career, finances, body, sex life, and marriage. Maybe I was just being a nervous mother-to-be after having been child-free for so long, maybe it was just the pregnancy mania. Maybe somewhere deep inside I had reason to be insecure. Never in my wildest nightmares, however, would I have imagined not having a birthday dinner with my son on his birthday because it is Daddy’s day for that. That was never part of the plan.
So now, I wait. I had to tell the Ex that I got a cake so that he wouldn’t beat me to the punch. (It wasn’t supposed to be like this). And the boy will be so tired from having had school, sports and straight with his Dad; he probably won’t have much time for me anyway. Still, I’ll go through the tradition of a cake and small gifts. I’ll have his friends over another time. I made a Happy Birthday poster last night. One of the sisters helped decorate it. I don’t always do things like that, but I’m feeling so vulnerable these days, and I’m noticing that we don’t celebrate things enough, especially since the separation and especially since the move to smaller digs. So I made a poster. I wanted to find a newborn picture of him to attach. It was a little bittersweet to see those pics of me, the Ex and the newborn baby boy. We were so happy. We had no idea what we were doing. We had no idea what was down the road.
But now I sit. I grew him in my belly, I birthed him, I nursed him. Yet my rights are determined by a mutually agreed upon (ha!) court order. Damn. Told you I was feeling a little blue. But I’m alone now. I’m allowed. I’ll pull it together for the little celebration. In case you’re wondering, the Ex and I have, in the past, shared some holidays/celebrations, but it stopped working, it really never did. Why that is the case is beyond the scope of this post. So now it is what it is. I am, of course, thankful for a healthy, happy first-born. He changed my life. He’s a good kid.
So Happy Birthday, Boy. But this is more than his birthday, it is the anniversary of the day I became a mother, and all that that implies.
Just Me With . . . a birthday cake.