It seems beyond ridiculous to say that this past week has been particularly difficult when every week is difficult, but I don’t know how else to begin describing my emotional struggles this past week. It has not been the worst week ever throughout this whole nightmare, but I is most definitely in the top ten. This week was my birthday. My second birthday since this whole nightmare began and this year was, without a doubt tougher than it was last year. Last year my parents were here for a few days before and after my birthday, which helped it to actually feel like something special and worth remembering, but this year with a few notable exceptions it was essentially forgotten. I had my son (since my birthday just happened to fall on a day where he is at home with me rather than visiting his father) which was very important to me and I took the day off from work. My mother called to sing and wish me a happy birthday in the morning. My father called in the evening, my friend Kamria made a birthday cake and surprised me with it and my friend Ona came over to take my son and I out for ice cream after dinner and I received 4 text messages (nothing on Facebook) wishing me a happy birthday. I am grateful for and appreciative of all those things and I do not want the comments to follow to diminish just how much those things meant to me, but this birthday was very difficult for me.
I didn’t sleep well the night before. Had some upsetting and difficult dreams that, of course, I can’t remember now, but whatever they had been about made it very difficult for me to get the kind of sleep that I wanted and needed. My son was feeling a little under the weather and as a result we were up quite a bit earlier than usual. This I actually didn’t mind because kids get sick and I had already taken the day off of work, so it wasn’t really a big deal. (Feeling sick was probably harder on him than it was on me.) I wasn’t really expecting to hear from anybody but my parents, my son and Ona and Kamria, but I had hoped that some of the people who really matter to me like my sister (Sweetie I do mean you) and my grandfather and I didn’t. I know that they have their own lives and it is hard to remember things like birthdays (especially for my elderly grandfather), but it still hurt not to hear from them.
Honestly it would have been so easy for me to forget it was my birthday because of how isolated I felt and because the usual traditions weren’t there anymore. Last year’s birthday sucked for SO many reasons, but at least I had my parents here which helped to make it feel special, but this year it was just me, my sick son and few a couple of hours at the end of the day a friend. Nothing special or out of the ordinary happened. No presents, not even something as simple as a gift wrapped candy bar, to open. I couldn’t even afford a special dinner, at home, for myself and my son. I almost wanted to forget that it was my birthday. I am sure the day would have been easier to get through if it had been just another day rather than one that should have been special.
Friends/Family – I know that you have your own lives that you are dealing with, but would it kill you to take five seconds, once a year to send me a text telling me happy birthday?!? Despite the things that I am struggling with I was able to do that for those of you I actually know birth dates for. It is very unlikely that you are not aware of what I have been going through and even though I am sure that some of you are dealing with the thought process of “This is awkward. If I send her a message will it help her or just make her feel worse because of everything that she is dealing with?” the message would have been nice. It would have served as a reminder that there are people in the world who actually do care about me and think that I am special, even if they only think I am special for just one day. Next year please send me a message.
Rest of the Universe – If you know someone who is struggling through a difficult time, whether it is an unwanted divorce like mine, death in the family, unemployment, etc and their birthday is coming up please be sure to say something to them. If you can afford a little something, even something as simple as a birthday card and/or their favorite candy bar, get it for them. Take it from someone who is there: it’s hard enough to go through a difficult time, but when something like your birthday falls within that difficult time that day is particularly harder. It may feel awkward but the time and the effort will mean something to the person who is receiving it because I have no doubt that they are wanting something like that, but can’t or don’t know how to say “I need you to help make my birthday feel special” and the truth is — they shouldn’t have to. So help them out. Do something small (or if you can afford to do something big with your time and/or money consider doing that too) because unless you are hit with difficult times you may never understand how something so small can mean something so big.
Thank you to those of you who did your best to not let my day be forgotten.