I kicked a lot of goals in the picking-the-right-husband tournament. One I did not manage to get through the posts, however, was the ‘knowing how to treat a gal on her birthday’ goal.
I probably should have worked it out when we were first dating in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Oh, he gave me a present, alright. A kind of thoughtful, kind of romantic gift for a board game lover like me. But a card containing his outpourings of devotion? Or even a mere gift tag that he signed himself? No. Just one of his business cards taped to the outside of the box. My quizzical look was met with protestations about how impressed I should be that he wrapped it. He didn’t wrap for just anyone, apparently.
Birthdays, I soon discovered, would take the ballgame to a whole other level. It’s just not as easy for him to wrap his head around the preparations required. Or even, you know, remember it!
What really pisses me off is that his birthday is just 17 days before mine. This means that every year of the almost 20 we have now been together, he gets a this-is-how-to-treat-a-person-you-love-on-their-birthday tutorial. 17 days. That is all he needs to retain the information for. The tutorial includes a special breakfast, thoughtful (though not expensive) gifts from spouse and children, singing (ah, Happy Birthday that would be, and not from the shower), a dinner out, cake, candles, and a general ‘you-rule-today-because-it’s-your-birthday’ attitude. Every year I show him how it’s done. And every year he struggles. Or worse still, doesn’t struggle at all. Just…doesn’t.
I guess, in fairness, I should interject here that he doesn’t have an issue with gift-giving generally. In fact, he often comes home from the post office with the spoils of an online shopping expedition in my honour. It’s coordinating his kindness with birthdays that seems to be the problem. And for a Taurus like me who is ALL ABOUT BIRTHDAYS, this can be, well, A PROBLEM! And believe me when I say I am not the needy, you-must-give-me-diamonds kind of girl.
It’s not even really about the presents (okay, it’s a little bit about the presents). I just think birthdays are, or should be, a big deal.
A couple of years back, a five-year run of low-level birthday attention culminated in the shit royally hitting the fan.
We were staying up the coast with my sister and brother-in-law. It was the night before my birthday and my sister invited us up for a nice dinner and to stay on overnight and have a nice birthday breakfast. She had nearly two decades of awareness about why a nice birthday breakfast at her hands might be warranted.
Hilarious birthday cake fails. A+ for effort. Post continues below…
So we went up the coast. My husband was advised that the reason we were going up the coast was FOR MY BIRTHDAY. We had the lovely dinner. We went off to sleep. My sister came and gave me a kiss on the forehead the next morning and whispered ‘Happy Birthday’. He didn’t stir. I cannot remember exactly his first words to me when he did wake up, but I do know that they were NOT ‘Happy Birthday.’ He got up, put his runners on, and called out to our eleven-year-old daughter asking if she wanted to go for a walk down the beach to the coffee shop. ‘Do you want anything?’ he said to me.
‘A hot chocolate?’ I responded.
Meanwhile, I was not at all suspicious he may have forgotten. In fact, ‘Isn’t that cute?’ was what was going through my head. ‘They must be going off to get me some flowers. Or a present he hid in the boot of the car. Or something.’
So they took off for their jaunt to the coffee shop. My brother-in-law then also left for the coffee shop, asking me if I wanted something. I politely declined, fully expecting that a hot chocolate and a bunch of flowers were soon going to be coming my way.
About half an hour later, my husband and daughter returned. No flowers. No something. Not even a freaking hot chocolate. He forgot.
Forgot? No shit, batman. Forgot everything, apparently. Forgot my birthday. Forgot the tutorial from seventeen freaking days ago!!
So, in spite of a last-minute dash to DFO that he proposed we make on the way home to Brisbane so I could choose ‘whatever I wanted’ (yup – the factory outlet shops – his romance really knows no bounds.) I came up with a tutorial he would never forget.
Can’t remember a day? Well then how about a month, buddy?
It was a tutorial called the MONTH OF ME.
My birthday is at the beginning of May. For the rest of May, I deemed it the ‘Month of Me’. I celebrated my birthday for myself, every way I could, every day. And I did absolutely nothing for him. Want that dropped to the dry-cleaners? Too bad. It’s the Month of Me. Want some dinner? You’ll have to get it yourself. It’s the Month of Me. Expect me to change this TV channel? Nah-uh. It’s the Month of Me. Bedroom action? I think you get the drift…
That was three birthdays ago. All of my birthdays since have involved cake and candles and cards and even poetry. My gifts for this year were bought weeks ago, and were wrapped and displayed in the lounge room to remind me (and him) that my birthday won’t be forgotten this year.