I've long given up expecting anything for my birthday. My husband even asked this year what I wanted, but I couldn't think of anything. I'm satisfied with my life, with things I have... not wanting anything - except perhaps a clutter-free house. So no gifts. That saying, he did give me the chance to take off a weekend and fly out to a reunion. That is a big thing I am looking forward to. I guess that would be my gift. I'm more than happy.
But this year, two things happened for my birthday. The first made me laugh. The second made me cry.
I was with a group of people on my birthday. One was a young woman whose husband had been on a short-term, two week trip once. He wants to go again. She heard that my husband will be traveling for a month and came to question me. How do I cope? Well, my kids are older now - we do fine. She still looked puzzled, and walked away, but then came back with a very direct question, "but how do you go so long without ___?" (insert a three letter word that I shouldn't put on my blog, the one starting with an s and ending with an x)
Ok. That was direct. I answered her respectfully since she asked honestly. But I was tempted to say, "well, I just do... I mean, what option is there?" But I tried to keep a straight face. It was asked honestly.
That would have been fine if it had stopped there. But then she sighed, looked at me, and said, "Well, it's different for you - you're older!"
Happy Birthday - you're too old for ___. Thanks! 37 is not THAT OLD!!!
I felt like looking at her with a little bit of pity and saying, "honey, you think it is good now, just wait." But I didn't.
But I am still giggling over that. So are my other "old" friends. I guess that is how 23 year olds view 37 year olds.... (Ok, I know I am going to get in trouble for this post. I can see it coming.)
The second made me cry. My grandma wrote me a birthday card.
Now comes a need for a slight trip into history. About two years ago, when we went to visit a relative, my two boys threw rocks through a window of a vehicle which they thought was trash, sitting out in the fields behind a barn. It wasn't. We paid to get them fixed. We disciplined our boys - they paid the entire contents of their savings (saving for three years towards a camera) to help pay for this. They learned.
Anyway, this summer, we had to stay near my grandma, so we phoned and asked if we could stay a few days. She said no - grandpa was sick.
No problem. I understand that.
Well, she wrote me my birthday card. And wrote this, "well, I said no because grandpa was sick, but not only because of that. You remember that incident with the rocks a few years ago? I wasn't sure I wanted you to come after that, and honestly, I am not sure we will ever have you stay here."
Wow. Happy Birthday - we don't want you.
I cried. Off and on all night, I cried.
I could argue. I could say a lot of things, but... there is nothing much to say.
Why? Why in the world, even if you felt like you HAD to say that, why in a birthday card?!
I've decided I don't really like birthdays.