Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Birthday Memory

My "baby sister" turned 40 years old this week. I think it's so cool that she is 40!

Our mom told me that my sis gets super emotional every year. Our dad's birthday was six days after hers. She cries about missing our dad (who died in 1992) yet my mom wonders if it also stems from her being upset about getting another year older.

The only time I was upset about my birthday was when my Wonderful Husband didn't buy me anything for my 25th birthday (many years ago). We had gone to visit his parents in Pennsylvania (we lived in Maryland). I went to lunch with his mom and two sisters. One of his sisters asked what he had given me for my birthday. I said, "Nothing."

I was expecting him to go out while I was gone to get me something (a card, maybe a gift, maybe a cake). Because four years into our marriage, I believed that he could read my mind.

On the way home from lunch, we passed quite a few yard sales and his sister started teasing me that maybe he would hit a yard sale for my gift.

Awkward! For me. Because I was already upset and didn't have much of a sense of humor at that point. (I know it's hard to believe because I pride myself on my GREAT sense of humor)!

I also felt I had hit a major milestone (25 years...a quarter of a century). I laugh now (many years later) since this was early in our marriage, pre-parenthood, not much life experience, etc. But when we arrived back to his parent's house after lunch, I was expecting something.

Nope. Nothing.

Finally my bitchy attitude made an impression on him and we had a "tiff" in the privacy of the guest bedroom. He told me I was too materialistic and ended up stomping out for a card and flowers. Happy Birthday To Me. I was angry and hurt yet I know we both learned from that experience.

And the lessons learned have been carried forward through the next 23 years of marriage. (For you math-y readers, we've been married 27 years and counting as of today).

We've both learned how to communicate better and more effectively. Gone are the days of my pouting, him asking what's wrong, me being huffy and saying, "Nothing." Now I wouldn't act so junior high school-ish. I should have pulled him aside and told him that I would like a card and for him to recognize that my birthday isn't only important to me but to show me that my birthday is important to him too. Hey if I hadn't been born, how could he appreciate the years of marital bliss? lol

We've learned that we can't read each other's minds. Ok. This is probably a lesson that I needed to learn more than him. He will freely admit that he's never been able to read my mind! It's not fair of me to assume he knows what I'm thinking, feeling, or what is important to me if I don't tell him.

We've learned to apologize when we hurt one another's feelings. Not a back-handed type of apology...like, "I'm sorry but..." then going on about how I'm right and he's wrong. But an apology that says, "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings." Period. No excuse tacked on to the end. No justifying my side. Just a sincere sentence with a hug included.

We've learned how to forgive each other. I personally don't believe in the saying, "Forgive and forget."  Anytime my feelings have been major league hurt by anyone, I can forgive yet don't forget. The difference is that I remember and learn from the situation. I don't remember in order to throw it back at him/them during the next disagreement or the next. It is in the past. It is forgiven.

For those wondering... my Wonderful Husband has never let my birthday pass without a card again.

Hallmark should be thanking me because I am kind of old!

Do you have some thoughts to share about relationships/marriage?

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