Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday To....Ex

So I am sitting in the midst of birthday preparation chaos - the boys going berserk decorating a card that is bigger than they are - all in honour of their dad's birthday on Friday.

I have orchestrated most of this.  Bought fantastic cards.  Ordered an original piece of artwork (one of our shared weaknesses).  Bought a book on mountain climbing.  Have a supermarket's worth of cake decorating paraphernalia on the counter.  And I want to feel great about all this.  Generous.  Thoughtful.  Want to encourage the boys to celebrate their dad's birthday and think carefully about how they can make it an extra special day.

So why does this all just serve to make me feel just a little bit...shit?

Part of me just wants to trash it all and just stuff a few dollars into a couple of crap Hallmark cards and be done with it.  Repeat the effort that was made for my birthday.  But I am above all that, aren't I?

There's no room for silly games and tit for tat in this situation.  I love birthdays.  I love celebrating birthdays.  Always have.  Always will.  And the habit of trying to make Ex's birthday special is a tough one to break.  But more than that I want to show the boys the importance of celebrating other people's birthdays and not just their own - that a little bit of thought and effort on someone elses behalf can really make that person's day.

The irony of the situation is the Ex really doesn't like to celebrate his birthday, being a sort of bah humbug birthday scrooge.  He much preferred to celebrate mine.  And boy, over the years did he set the bar high.

The first birthday we were together he surprised me with a trip to London to see the musical Rent.  Sounds normal enough, doesn't it?  Well, Ex was never a man to do things by half.  He also invited my sister and closest friends from various parts of the country, hiring a limo to take us all there and back - all as a complete surprise to me of course.  It was my first ride in a limo.  I think we made quite the impression driving through the busy streets of the west end, swigging champagne like a bunch of chavs.  Particularly when we decided to have a competition of who would be the first to do a moonie out of an open window.  (Needless to say, the birthday girl didn't win that competition - first prize as always going to my close friend K who had a penchant for getting inebriated and then airing her derriere in public places.)

Subsequent birthdays were no less spectacular.  I remember waking up one birthday to find our flat a multi-coloured ribbon present trail.  Each different coloured ribbon led to a hidden present.  Each ribbon went from room to room, all at different heights, making it impossible to navigate the space without contorting myself over and under the neon bright wrapping tape.  I would like to say it was reminiscent of the scene where Catherine Zeta Jones leaps effortlessly over lasers (in the movie that I can't be bothered to google to remember the name of)...but of course, in reality I tripped and stumbled all over the place in a combination of giggles and awe.  He went to all that effort for me.

On yet another birthday, the effort to discover my presents was less physical and more intellectually challenging.  I was given a heap of small boxes.  Well.  You can imagine my glee, as I pictured unwrapping a mountain of sparkly things to adorn myself with.  Ooh no.  His originality took a new turn that year.  Each box contained a mixture of scrabble letters.  Once I had successfully deciphered the 'code' I was 'rewarded' with the actual present.  Some of them silly, some more monumental but all of them chosen with a great deal of thought and love.

There are other examples, but already in writing this and remembering the effort this man made to make my birthdays so very special, this modicum of effort on my part (and the boys) is well deserved.   And these feelings of resentment and slight envy are so irrational anyway - it's not as if he is expecting any level of effort (or will possibly even appreciate it).

So happy birthday Ex.  Hope it's a good one.  Even if you would rather we ignored it altogether.

And I guess looking on the bright's not going to matter if I'm not in the mood for sausage on Friday because the birthday blowjob is no longer in my remit.  You see!  I am capable of seeing the silver lining. 


  1. You are being the better person. And in the end, you'll be happy for it. Always try to take the higher road. "Try"--because trust me, there will come the times when you just can't. And that's okay too.


  2. Ehm, maybe not my place to say - but that's really above and beyond, my dear. Especially after his efforts.

  3. wow, what amazing birthdays you have had. I've never had that sort of effort made on me. I'm not too sure about the extra effort you are making for ex this time. Maybe a middle road should be found or you might end up resenting the one sided effort it has become. I hope not and I hope you get lots of enjoyment and satisfaction from giving and teaching your children that same sense of fun. xxx

  4. I was about to say you should have matched your effort with his, since he's no longr placing any value on it, but you're right to show the boys how to make someone feel special.

  5. Hi there, I just know where you're coming from. For me, I've noticed in a situation like this where I put effort into something for him, part of the reason why I do it is not only for the kids, but I always hope that he will notice what a good person I am - and thereby regret that we are now separated. I applaud your efforts because I know the conflicting feelings that come with it. Taking the higher road is the better way and your children will notice it.

    And I love your afterthought about the birthday blowjob. I had that same thought the other day!

    Wishing you well.

  6. I just came across with your post and enjoyed it a lot, thanks for sharing with us.

  7. That's an awful lot you're doing . . . frankly (and none of my business, of course), it sounds a little too much. Maybe you can look to other people for special birthday observances with your boys in the future. This one seems likely to prolong the pain and be potentially uncomfortable all around.

    Divorce sucks, and things like birthdays are especially hard. Wishing you strength.

  8. Hey love,
    Ok...I agree with being the better person and rising above it all, but (feeling like it is a bit of my business, as a concerned dear friend), I think maybe next year, you maybe shouldn't do quite so much.
    It's sort of to do with your moving on. Don't ignore his birthday, but maybe let the boys do more and you do less.
    xx me

  9. LMAO at the end.

    When oh when are you going to put an email subscribe on here? Please???