Today is my birthday, and I am 45 years old. I don’t generally celebrate my birthday, I’ve had so many disappointing birthdays where people I thought were friends cancelled plans with me that I learned to protect myself by not making any.
Take my 21st birthday, at the time I had only 1 close friend, and we had planned to go out for a night of dancing. The day before she told me she couldn’t make it, I can’t remember the excuse she gave me but I was gutted. I went to visit my dad in Yorkshire and my step mother took me out drinking. I have only twice in my life been so drunk that I couldn’t stand – this was one of them. Two of my dads friends carried me back to my dad’s house and I was very hung over in the morning.
I planned to have a group of friends at my house for drinks and nibbles, I nearly cancelled it because my dad had passed the year before and I really didn’t feel like celebrating. They talked me into going a head, but the day before I came down with severe tonsillitis and was far too I’ll to be good company. It was probably the most boring and awkward party anyone of them has ever attended.
By this time I had given up on the idea of celebrating birthdays. What was the point? I’d experienced far too many disappointments, and the last thing I wanted was another. One of my “friends” had other ideas. She contacted some of my other friends via Facebook without my knowledge, and they decided that they would arrange a meal out at a local restaurant. I was excited and touched that they had all got together to arrange this and asked a guy I worked with who made cakes in his spare time if he would make me a cake. He agreed and blew me away with his creation.
The night of the meal arrived and I received a message from the friend who had organised it. She couldn’t attend. No explanation. Everyone else attended and we had a lovely meal, but I couldn’t help feeling cross that this friend who had organised it didn’t show. I messaged her several times asking if she was OK and didn’t hear from her for months. My other friends asked me if she had sent me a card or gift and I said no, she hadn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect cards or gifts, I am not that kind of person, a message to say happy birthday is more than enough, and even then I don’t think any less of people who do not do that, after all what is a birthday? Surely it is just another day – if anything it’s a day when we should thank our mothers for enduring labour and bringing us into the world – they did all the work!!
However, this made me think, on the occasions when ill heath has caused me to cancel plans to attend a party (and occasionally my anxiety or my back has meant I have done this) I always have a card or gift that was to be taken to the party that I give to them the next time I see them. It occurred to me therefore that she had no intention of coming as to this day she has not presented me with so much as a card. She did tell me some 9 months later that her partner had been made redundant and she couldn’t afford to come, but given that she organised this event 4 months before my birthday, and we didn’t go to an expensive place, she would have only needed £15 to attend, or if she would have told me of the situation, I would have paid for her meals and drinks as a thank you for organising it. I have never been adverse to helping my friends like that and I don’t make a big deal about it – you know like some people would, reminding her of having helped her out? We have since lost touch, basically because I got sick of being the one who made contact with her all the time. I decided to see how long it would take for her to contact me. Its been 3 years.
So this year Mr H and I planned to go to to a hotel, have two days and nights of kinky fuckery and evening meals. With the change in our circumstances ( J leaving and the financial support we are giving him) we cancelled this booking.
Add to this the current situation with my back I have no idea what we will do to celebrate, but I have asked Mr H if he can come up with some treat. I have told him I do not need or want him to spend any money on me, I would be happy with his time and special attention, a treat as it were, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
So far, I have received cards from some lovely friends, and some gifts (Gin!!) and Mr H has just headed off to McDonald’s for a Big Mac meal with a strawberry milkshake for dinner. He is watching TV with me and looking after me. So all in all today is turning into a lovely birthday.