The Missed Birthday

By: Peggy Willms 

(4 min. read)

They say Karma is a—you know what.

I think it was my 28th birthday that my ex-husband forgot. Receiving Gifts is not my love language, but a “Have a great day” would have been nice. The next day, I mentioned it. I will say I was a bit salty.

Fast forward 30 years, and I now know how bad he felt.

Sometimes life gets busy, and though that is the lamest excuse to forget someone’s birthday, it is a lot easier said than done when you don’t mention the day is coming up or you’re not mentioning what you would like for your birthday. When you live with somebody who doesn’t favor gifts, per se, and they are swamped, sometimes you don’t even know what day of the week it is, nonetheless what month or year.

My boyfriend is a reminder. What does that mean? He will remind you of anything you or he feels you need to be reminded of. Remember, it’s going to be warm tomorrow, so make sure you wear sunscreen. Remember that you might want to thaw the chicken for Sunday tomorrow afternoon. Remember, three weeks from now, we’re going out with our pals for dinner. Remember … so when he is out of town and did not remind me, his birthday was Thursday, stacked on top of I never know what day of the week it is, one might get a little forgiveness that they would forget. It was their boyfriend of 13 years birthday. Or not. He forgave me, but now I’m working on forgiving myself.

As we always do when he travels, we touch base in the morning, midday, and evening. And I decided to give him a call while I was walking to the mail. I have to assume all of his responsibilities when he’s gone, such as grocery shopping, the mail, locking all the doors and windows 1 million times, and remembering to take the trash to the curb. Wish me luck. So, as we’re walking down the street, I’m chitchatting. I told him about my day; listening to him talk about his, nothing seemed unusual. I hadn’t been on social media that morning, so I can’t even say that Zuckerberg reminded me of his birthday. I hadn’t talked to any other human being that day to see if anybody could possibly remind me of the things that I seem to be forgetting in life that are so much more important than what’s on my calendar; therefore, I had no other human being and no technology to tap my brain of what matters.

Two hours later, while sitting out back, I’m going through all of my social media, and suddenly, the alarm on my phone starts going off. I had apparently set it to remind myself of his birthday. However, I set it for 3 PM in the afternoon, which is the silliest time of day to set an alarm when you want to tell somebody that you wish them a happy birthday first thing in the morning. I raced to the phone, absolutely mortified that I didn’t say anything on our earlier call. I told him I called myself all the names in the book he possibly could and, of course, being him, he’s so unforgiven even if I don’t breathe correctly, he did not think it was a big deal. He did laugh and said he wasn’t going to remind me to wish him a happy birthday. But for the rest of the day, I felt horrible.

Usually, I have streamers all over the place, signs, and his favorite dessert, but there was no planning because he’s been gone for a while. And again, Mr. Reminder wasn’t here to remind me.

I went to bed that night, still having the guilty thoughts in my mind, and proceeded to have a dream that shook me to my core. It was very colorful, and it was pretty simple. It was just a conversation. A conversation where he approached me quite aggressively and he is the most non-confrontational person on planet Earth. He pretty much told me that I do absolutely nothing around here and that I could kind of be on my way, and I was just standing there absolutely shocked. I’m like, after all these years, and then he turned around and looked at me, he’s like, yeah, you’re probably right; that’s been a long time, so everything’s cool. That does sound like a simple dream, perhaps to you, and one that happened within a minute, but it seemed like it lasted three hours.

When I got up the next day, and I gave him a call and told him all about it, he just lightheartedly said don’t even let it bother you. But I guess the moral of the story is Karma came back to bite me. Busyness is one of the biggest blessings and biggest curses out there. For those people who aren’t busy, they wish they were, and those who certainly wish they weren’t.

There were a couple of takeaways from this: number one, don’t ever set an alarm clock for anything at 3 PM in the afternoon when you need to do it first thing in the morning. Another thing is to start looking at your calendar week ahead, which you preached to everyone on the planet and apparently didn’t follow through with yourself. The other thing is to take a deep breath every single day and think about who is important to you and some of the things you did or want to do together. I can tell you right now I won’t forget another birthday.

Peggy Willms
All Things Wellness, LLC

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