Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to Me - Part II: Insignificant Other
I'm not really sure how to go about writing this, because it is not intended to hurt my husband's feelings, though he knows that he did indeed hurt mine. And he also knows I intended to blog about it. And he has tried to make up for his mistake. But still, it's hard to recount the events of my birthday without possibly making him feel bad all over again, and that really is not the intent of this post. As I mentioned in my last post, my birthday was October 28th. My blog and I share a birth month! - along with many of you out there in blog-land. Now, I am not a terribly high maintenance spouse when it comes to birthdays, but some small token is always appreciated. Do you want to know what I got from TFH on my birthday? "Happy birthday." Those two words, spoken as he walked groggily past me on the way to the kitchen for coffee. As tokens go, that's pretty small. But we had plans with my folks for later that day, so I figured maybe I'd get a card from him when we were all gathered at their house. We spent the afternoon at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, before heading back to my parents' house for dinner. At one point, as TFH and I were walking arm in arm, I turned and gave him a little peck on the lips. He wrapped his arms around me and I gave him a good hard look... "So, um, what do you want for your birthday?" he asked "Did you even get me a card?" I asked The look on his face said it all. People, he did not forget my birthday - he simply neglected to do a single thing to acknowledge it. Which left me feeling, well, pretty insignificant. I kept it together all through the evening. I even casually, and almost good naturedly, ratted him out to my folks - in front of him - after we'd eaten. The drive home is a long one: over an hour from their driveway to ours. It was also a very quiet one. Still, I didn't cry. I almost felt like I didn't want him to know how hurt I was, like it would seem weak or petty to cry about it. We got home late and Ben had school the next day - I got myself ready for bed and TFH took care of Ben's bedtime routines: the putting on of jammies, the brushing of teeth, the reading of stories. I lay in bed, and oh, here came the tears. Never, in a million years did I imagine that I'd be married to a man who would blow me off on my birthday. TFH must have heard me sniffling from the next room. He crawled in bed behind me and said "I'm really sorry, honey." And I knew he really meant it, though I still don't know the reason for his (lack of) actions. "It hurt my feelings, you know." I sniffed. "I know. I'm going to try to make it up to you. With some presents?" he offered I turned to face him "OK." (Yes you will.) I said. The next part of this story sort of turns everything on its ear. We keep one of our bedroom windows open, because I NEED fresh air when I sleep. There's a constant drone of traffic noise from the highway that runs near our house, and the occasional squeal of tires peeling out from the tavern down the street. We are used to these noises. To be honest, I don't hear them anymore, but my ears perked up that night when I heard a man's angry voice yelling, followed by a woman's shrill screams. TFH's head lifted slightly off the pillow. "Did you hear..." "Uh-huh, a man yelling and then a woman..." "Yeah, a girl or a woman..." "Screaming." We both sat up. "Should I go out there?" He asked "Or dial 911... domestic disturbance?" I said. TFH got out of bed, and I lay there. Suddenly I felt very petty. My husband may have blown off my birthday, but at least he wasn't beating me up. TFH came back in and said that 911 had already gotten a report of a domestic disturbance down the street from us, we figured that must be what we heard. It took me a long time to get to sleep after that. I thought about what we'd heard. I thought about that woman. I really hoped it wasn't her birthday. Ithought about how proud I was of my husband for wanting to take action, and for calling 911. I told him this. The next day TFH did indeed present me with a gift. He didn't have a lot of time to think about it, but it's the thought that counts. I, however, have had plenty of time to mull over the events of that day. Am I insignificant in my husband's eyes? No, not really. There are much worse ways to be treated. I can count among my MANY blessings that TFH is not the type of man that likes to explore those kinds of possibilities.

17 comments:

Victoria said...

Aw. Being "forgotten" by someone you love hurts. But "remembering" you love someone, and that person loves you too...well, that makes it all better.

PS - My hubs has neglected me on my birthday too. And one year he gave me a baseball cap. For Valentine's Day. Grr.

Family Adventure said...

You know, he made a mistake. But he owned up to it right away and tried to make it right. I think that counts for something. A lot. He knows he hurt your feelings, and I'm guessing he'll try not to do it again.
Different things are important to different people. Maybe his birthday isn't that important to him? How would he have reacted if you didn't get him anything?

Heidi

Nowheymama said...

Oh my goodness, I am behind on your blog. Happy Belated Birthday!

And I know this post is about a touchy subject, but I have to say, it's so well written!

Mad Hatter said...

Um, sorry to be late to wish you a happy birthday especially given that our birthdays are 2 days and 2 years apart--or 1 year and 363 days to be precise.

Happy Birthday.

Note to TFH: Christmas had better be good, 'kay?

Beck said...

My husband didn't get me presents on my birthday. It turned out that he HAD looked, but he had left ordering for too long for anything to come in on time and then couldn't find anything I'd like when he went shopping. It was his fault for not starting early enough, but I didn't feel UNLOVED. (and he did end up giving me some lovely presents later...)

Kathryn said...

I can relate. My husband is usually very attentive, but has blown me off on a couple of (what I thought were important) occasions. I guess sometimes a guy just needs it spelled out for him. I have actually told my husband flat out, "Look, on this day I don't need a present, but AT LEAST a card would be nice to know that you appreciate me or acknowledge me". I think it did the trick. I'm sure I will be forgotten again in the future sometime. I'll try not to take it personally. Like you said, I know I've got a good husband, I shouldn't need a card to tell me that.
Except for that, sometimes, I do.

theflyingmum said...

In years past, I have been out shopping around my birthday, picked up something (gloves, a scarf...) and then come home and told him what "he" bought me for my birthday. Other years, TFH has surprised me with flowers delivered to the house. I really don't expect or need a gift. But a card? Yes, I'm going to say that I do expect and need a card. Are you reading this, honey? REMEMBER.
That said, I'll wrap up by saying that I feel extremely lucky to be married to him. For so many reasons that i couldn't even begin to list them all here.

allrileyedup said...

Very well put. I think it's okay to want to feel extra special on your birthday with the person you love, but it's also important to realize that everything is relative.

alejna said...

Happy birthday, belatedly.

This post makes me feel guilty for having largely neglected my own husband's birthday this year. This was the first year I haven't done anything, which is pretty lame of me. And he'd even baked me a cake for my birthday this year. But you know, in the back of my mind I think was remembering last year, when I turned 35. It seemed a milestone to me, and it was my first birthday as a mother to boot. And there was nothing. We're not really card people, but I guess I like some sort of acknowledgment, too. Sigh.

Your man sounds like a good man. Don't be too hard on him.

theflyingmum said...

Ooooooh, Aljena. Yes, the first birthday with a new baby needs to be a very special one. TFH bought me an ice-cream cake which, now that I think about it, was a lovely gesture. But it made me cry, because I was trying not to gain any MORE weight. He made up for it that year by buying me a facial. Which I was absolutely miserable through. Because all I could think about was the new baby at home. Without me. Poor TFH, he just can't win with me, sometimes.

jen said...

of course it's all relative. but you know, still.

happy birthday sister.

theflyingmum said...

Thank, friends, for all the birthday wishes. If I missed yours, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all collectively a Happy Birthday!!! I'll try to make it to the party next year. ;)

Misty said...

You know, I do that exact same thing. Get disgruntled about this, that, or the other and then listen to the horror stories I hear every day at work. Then proceed to feel like *I am so lucky* to have this man who tries so hard and in the end, does not hurt me or the kids.

It is a humbling exercise of thought.

PS, I did your meme today. Just letting you know!

Jennifer said...

Well, it's true that there are always people in worse situations. And true that blowing off a spouse's birthday isn't the worst thing that can happen between a husband and a wife. But, my husband blew off one of my recent birthdays (he didn't forget, just didn't do anything to make it special -- your story was so familiar) and...it hurt. It really hurt. More than I would have thought.

On the flip side: you can probably look forward to a great birthday next year.

HBD!

Tracey said...

I'm sorry your feelings got hurt. It doesn't matter if it is insignificant in comparison to somebody else's woes, it meant something to you, and that's all that matters.

Happy Birthday! Just think: next year's can only be spectacular in comparison, right?

Alpha DogMa said...

I highly recommend marrying a man with whom you share a birthday. And then marry him on the same day so that the day is NEVER forgotten and you get 2 presents and you can OD on cake. I know this advice comes to late for you and the Floating Husband, but its worked out great for us.

theflyingmum said...

Whoa! Shared birthday's and an anniversary on the same day! Yes, no one has any excuses for not coming through there.