It's my birthday today and I'm really dreading it. I didn't used to dread birthday's. I really loved them..........all birthdays. From the time I was little birthday's were a big deal to me.
The summer my dad died I was only twelve and I pulled together this huge surprise birthday party for my mother because I thought she deserved it. Then I made sure each one of my siblings had a birthday party as well. No one's birthday ever got by me.
When I grew up and had my own kids, birthdays were still a big deal to me. First birthday parties were a blast and I couldn't wait for my kids to get old enough to really appreciate their birthdays but that's not what really happened.
My kids grew up expecting big birthday celebrations........almost to the point of demanding them sometimes. And the other thing about my kids, the only birthday important to them was their own.
My birthday would come and go every year and no one noticed. I didn't get a card, a cake or even a birthday wish most of the time. They'd remember their dad's birthday but only because I was there prodding them along.
Then when I got into therapy the inequity of this whole situation really hit me. I began to realize that they were all taking advantage of my heart and giving nothing in return so I quit celebrating their birthdays. I guess I thought if they knew how it felt they might realize that birthday celebrations weren't something you're entitled to but something given out of love. Maybe they'd realize ALL birthdays were special not just theirs.
Instead they just got resentful and the whole birthday thing just totally dried up around here. Most of my kids are grown and gone and they celebrate birthdays away from here. But birthdays here are unimportant and I must admit a very hurtful time.
I can't seem to understand how I managed to raise 3.5 kids (somehow I don't know how to see Lindsay in this hence the .5 child) who care about others but not their own family. I know that my husband is part of this problem. While I always made sure his birthdays were a big deal, he not often remembered mine so the kids didn't get that example from him. But they got it from me, Didn't that count?
I guess this whole thing is one of the reasons I feel distant from my children, at least the older ones. Sometimes I'm not sure where Nick fits into this but Lindsay, there's no distance, thank God! But the older two most of the time are like two strangers I see a couple of times a year. It's really sad. And for me, my birthday is a reminder of that. Guess that's why I dread birthdays so. I'm not only getting older and running out of time but it's another reminder of the mess of my earlier life.