Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whose Birthday Is it?

When I see the extravagant birthday parties that some little girls get to have I'm always tempted to pull them aside and tell them not to get used to being over-indulged on their big day, especially if they have plans on ever being a mom when they get older. Everyone knows that a mom's needs are low on the priority list and at least in my house, birthdays are included on that list because my birthday was on the 21st, but my kids thought it was just a typical Sunday.

Judging by the gray hairs that occasionally come shooting out of my skull and the fact that collagen has decided to make a mass exodus from my skin, I know that I'm getting older and I don't need to look at my birth certificate to prove it. My birthdays in the past have rarely been celebrated with much fanfare and have actually coincided with some pretty miserable events, including funerals and medical procedures. While I don't expect everyone to bend over backwards just because I'm getting older (And to be honest, the thought of having a birthday makes me ill. I mean, a bunch of people coming to a party because of me freaks me out.), it would have been wonderful if my kids would have remembered.

Due to a variety of reasons, the boys played in a tennis tournament over the weekend and I knew when I registered them that it was likely that they would end up with matches on Sunday. I even told Charlie that if he ended up playing in semi-finals and finals matches on my birthday, it would be a great present for me. I had mentioned to Zach that I was okay with the fact that I would be spending the weekend packing coolers and driving them around, even though it was my birthday, because he wanted to play in this tournament. I also told him on Saturday to get his homework done so that I wouldn't have to nag him tomorrow, on my birthday. In addition to these reminders, Doug wrapped a present for me and left it on a table in full view.

Somehow though, the three of them still managed to forget and to be honest, my feelings were hurt. I couldn't help but think about all of the shit I do for them every day and the great birthday parties I've had for them but, despite all the reminders, they couldn't remember my birthday. I sat and watched their matches, put new laces in court shoes, regripped racquets and made sure everyone ate the lunch that I had packed, but never heard "Happy birthday, mom."

After Charlie won a match, Doug called to congratulate him and reminded him what day it was. When Charlie handed my phone back to me he said "Oops. Happy birthday." I glared at him, said "Gee, thanks" and told him that he wasn't the only one that forgot and that I didn't want him to remind Zach and Zoe.

When we finally got home in the afternoon, Zoe walked in and her present radar went off. "Whose present is this? Is it mine?"

I had told Doug earlier that the kids had all forgotten about me so he was prepared to shower them with guilt. "No, it's not yours. It's mommy's present because it's her birthday."

"No, it's not. Mommy doesn't have a birthday today. Whose present is it?" Zach heard what was going on and his face instantly reflected what he was thinking, which I'm sure was "Oh, shit."

"Yes, Zoe. It's mom's birthday. You all forgot about it and that's really sad. Maybe you should sing for her."

So Zoe started singing "Happy Birthday" to me, while staring at a kitchen stool. Zach said happy birthday and, since he was probably afraid my anger and disappointment was going to make me violent, cautiously hugged me before he started doing the homework that he didn't feel like doing on Saturday. I emptied the cooler and stayed busy while I had a five-minute pity party for myself.

To be fair, they aren't the only ones that forgot. One of my brothers never called or texted, a few friends that usually remember didn't call this year and neither Doug's nor my parents called. But my mom and dad are off the hook since they sent a card a few days ago, were partying it up in Las Vegas on Sunday and I'm sure my mom was thinking about me while she was playing slots and slamming beers.

Despite how the day started out, it wasn't a 12-hour suckfest. Charlie won the championship match, I got a couple texts, a bunch of happy birthdays on Facebook and after a couple loads of laundry were done and the homework was finished, Doug made us go out to dinner where Charlie somehow managed to get a piece of tortilla chip shrapnel in his eye. Seriously, I can't make this shit up.

Oh, and Doug got me great birthday presents: "Guitar Hero Metallica" and the coolest piece of cross-stitch ever created:

You can find similar works of greatness here:

1 comment:

Annette said...

After my birthday last year, I've learned to set my expectations very, very low. Tomorrow is my birthday... should be interesting.