Happy Birthday to Me

I had not intended to write any more about my second ex-husband, but apparently I have some things I still need to work through.  So, absent a therapist, writing seems to be the most liberating way to rid my mind of these leftover pieces of him.  He is not so much on my mind because I miss or love him, but his replacement has so many qualities he lacked; I find myself living my life in reversing asking “why” on a daily basis.

Currently, I am staying with my sister for a few weeks, 6 if the truth be told, and well, I am telling the truth (small attempt at humor).  I actually do not know her well, so when I begin waxing philosophical about my past, expecting sympathy, I had no idea I was in the wrong house.  For each story I revealed about my life with my ex-spouse, my younger sister becomes less inspired by me, “It’s your own fault, you deserved it. You could have left.” She spouts her wisdom as I sit and stare at her blankly.  Interesting.

For the years I was married to him I had few people to talk to; my family was not speaking to me, or was it me not speaking to them?  Either way, there was no communication, so I had nobody to comfort me when I was down.  I did not really have any close friends; I had co-workers, but nobody who really cared to listen when things were really rough at home.

So, here I sit, fingers poised at the keyboard, my sounding board, my new best friend.

One year, after reuniting (we had previously been separated for three years) the prior year, I woke up the morning of my birthday and wondered if he might, at the very least, say happy birthday.  I thought back to his birthday just two months earlier; the girls and I bought balloons, streamers, and other decorations to transform the house so he would wake up to a festive mood.  We made a cake, complete with birthday candles, gave him a few gifts, and tried our best to show him he was loved.

His response was his usual low-key, monotone voiced, “Thank you,” but I knew he appreciated the effort.  He was not big on celebrating anything, but he always valued the kids doing anything for him.  The gifts were never right and we typically made a joke about him returning everything, but the thought and love was there.

The day of my birthday, I got up at 4:30 a.m. for my morning run, came back to the house for Pilates, got ready for work, and headed to the office for my normal routine.  After work was much the same; I went for a run, cooked dinner, cleaned up afterwards, and went out to the front porch to sit by myself.  He went up to his computers to play some video games.

I started crying to myself, softly, not sobbing, just little tears, at having been forgotten.  I knew there would be no celebration, no party, and no cake.  My children were not old enough to shop on their own or to bake by themselves; and it takes a mom to prompt them to do such things.  However, it does not take much to remind somebody to say the words “Happy birthday”.

Finally, he came outside and sat beside me for a minute, he noticed the tears, surprisingly, “What’s the matter with you?” he asked.

“Well,” I sighed deeply, almost afraid to answer, “Today was my birthday.”

“So, what’s the big deal?” he was incredulous, “It’s not like you’re nine.”

“It would have been nice if you had at least said happy birthday,” I replied.

He said the f-word and a few other things to me, making me feel worse, and walked away.

Happy birthday to me.