I struggle with the celebration of my birthday. Is it just me?
There’s no real instructions for how this is to be done. Like Mother’s Day, if you leave it up
to someone else, well, you probably won’t get it the way you want and then you
get to clean up the mess.
I leave my birthday celebration plans up to my husband, but usually with the vagueness of ‘oh, I don’t know,’ but also with the strict directive “Don’t invite people over!” Well, my dear
husband had trouble grasping the concept and has consistently invited friends, neighbours, family to our home on most if not ALL of my birthdays. This would leave me feeling 1) ungrateful – how can I not appreciate that my husband went to all this trouble to honour/celebrate my birthday? 2)
angry/bitter/resentful – why won’t he hear what I say? I really don’t want to clean up after this party, again.
My usual response to the situation was to smile pretty and try, really, really hard to enjoy the experience. (Awesome way to stoke the resentment fire, btw.) (I apologize to all my
friends for telling this story repeatedly.)
Last year I finally worked it out. When I found out that people were invited, yet again, after I had repeatedly and specifically said “I Don’t Want People Over!” I actually voiced my displeasure and stated the reason why. I did not want people in my house on my birthday. He argued a bit. I’m doing this for you. You should be happy, like it, appreciate my effort, etc.. I explained, yes, I appreciate your effort and your thoughtfulness but a party in my house automatically casts me in the role of hostess. I do enjoy being hostess, don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, family, neighbours and friends, BUT not in my house on my birthday. I specifically said, “if you want to have a party to celebrate my birthday, have it SOMEWHERE ELSE!” He got it. It was too late, too short of notice, the people invited made plans to come. I did not want to make the fuss of uninviting them, so one last time, I smiled and to the best of my ability, let it go, and enjoyed myself and the lovely people. But, I had finally said something about it and was heard.
It then dawned on me that I too have done this. There were many times I thought I knew what was ‘best’ for my daughters and planned things they specifically said they didn’t want. I made plans for friends and family without necessarily consulting them and dragged them along kicking and screaming. I now understand that we can’t know what is ‘best’ for anyone but ourselves! Even when our motive is love and sincerity, choosing what we think someone else SHOULD want doesn’t cut it.
I have also figured out that if I/we say ‘surprise me,’ then I/we had better be prepared to be open to whatever comes my/our way and complaining rights are null and void.
It is not fair to make my husband guess what would make me happy. That responsibility lies with me. I need to decide not just what I don’t want, but what I do want and then be prepared to help make it happen. Responsibility. Imagine. At my age. I must be growing up…?
I promise, friends, I am done complaining about this now, for good.
Now, If I could just pick something I want …I’m thinking, mani/pedi, massage, flowers, weekend getaway….
How do you like to celebrate your birthday?