What if I don’t want my cake but I want to eat it?

15 01 2009

I’ve never really been big on birthdays; you gain a year – big whoop.  Now just because a celebratory dinner or box of candies or bouquet of roses isn’t my thing, doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear those two little words.  I think though, that I have somehow screwed myself out of hearing it by stating I didn’t care to have any ordeal made over this anniversary of my being brought into the world.

My sixteenth birthday, this is to be the birthday of all birthdays.  Sweet sixteen,quinceañera, confirmations, debut – the whole ordeal is to be a big event.  And though birthdays aren’t my thing, I kind of wanted something dramatic for it, small but enough oomph to make me look back fondly.  What I got was a call that my grandfather had passed away that very morning.  And that’s kind of how it goes for me, luck wise.  One year I took off work for my birthday only to wake up with pneumonia that morning and spend a week feeling like death was overtaking my body.  Another year my family somehow forgot it was my birthday until two days later.  Another year it was my husband shipping out to sea (in hindsight that was a really cool present).  Another year it was miscarrying my third child and spending the day in the hospital.  Another year I got a speeding ticket gift from an old classmate who had become a cop; I was going 23 in a 20 zone.  Even my twenty-first birthday was spent pregnant and alone, so I couldn’t even celebrate the fact I was finally legal to drink.

This year, I tried to spell it out.  I feel like a heel now, but I said no cake, no cards, no candies, no flowers, no gifts.  Just give me hugs and tell me happy birthday.  That’s all I want.  I said that last year too and my darling dear went and bought a 16 inch long sheet cake, chocolate no less, and roses.  It isn’t that I don’t appreciate the gesture, I told him, but I don’t like cake, nor chocolate and flowers just die.  So I presumed that everyone would understand what I was looking for was a few words, a little affection and back to life as usual.  But that didn’t happen.  Or hasn’t.

I took the day off from work, woke the girls up at 5:30 for school, woke Glenn up for work and then proceeded to putz around the house waiting to hear those magical words.  Nadda.  And here it is six hours later and it has dawned on not one soul that it is my birthday.  At least Bordersbooks.com remembered, they sent me some 30% off coupon since it’s my birthday.  I keep thinking the phone will ring with Glenn’s voice saying oh I forgot in my fog of tiredness this morne, happy birthday.  But the only call was a telemarketer.

I sit here thinking that perhaps if I had only just put on the blissful face of joy at chocolate and roses and accepted them more graciously, I wouldn’t be here now sulking at being forgotten.  It isn’t though that I don’t enjoy being remembered or such, I do – truly.  I just don’t want the huge fuss of gifts and cake and such that most people think shows their love.

I think I shall instead just go back to bed.

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