Last week was my husband Bill’s 93rd birthday. Pretty big deal, don’t you think?
The day or two before, I tried to use a light hand reminding family of the occasion.
Problem is, I come from a long line of celebrators. My grandmother taught my mother who taught me to make A Big Fuss about holidays, occasions, any event for which you can bring a box of chocolates, clutch of flowers, bottle of Beaujolais…or just sent a cheery note.
Naturally through the years I’ve come to recognize among those close to me the celebrators and the nons. Looked at it in another light, it comes down to Those Involved with Other People and Those Sitting on Their Hands...the TIOPs and the TSTHs…
Chances are you have family and friends in both groups…
OK. On The Big Day Bill received phone calls and email from his family and mine (although we’ve only been married twelve years, we’ve melded our two constituencies remarkably). Everyone in Bill’s family–all his children and grands (well, except for one nonconformist grand)–sent Dad/Grandpa a present or called. In my family, all called or sent a note except for a couple of young preoccupied with setting their lives on track…
The next day I sent them grandmotherly Wouldn’t it be lovely if nudges…Bill made me promise next year (“If I’m still here”) not to do that again.
Not a peep in response. I was upset.
So early this morning lying in bed chewing on my displeasure I thought and thought about how to proceed. One among many of the things Bill has taught me is not to blame. I’d never considered blame as an entity before. I’ve been grateful for the lesson, try to use it…when you feel you’ve been wronged, what you don’t say to the person. You don’t say, “How come you didn’t call Bill on his birthday?–nevermind you didn’t send a card…”
Lying in bed this morning I wondered, what would I say if I was going to say something?
I got it. Brilliant.
Then I got up and gave Cameron his breakfast, ate my cereal, Bill and I walked Uschi, gave Bill his breakfast cereal, fed Uschi, called the high school to talk to the counselor about Cameron’s entering ninth grade, oh yes, panicked because I got an email from Williams-Sonoma announcing they’d delivered Gail’s birthday present to her–oh dear, yesterday when she said she hadn’t received it, I looked at my Amazon orders, couldn’t find it, so I ordered it for her, now she has two complete sets of glass measuring cups–sat down to this and now it’s 10:00 o’clock and I can’t remember my inspired blame-without-blaming work-around.
Best just leave it alone. Best not to worry as to whether other people are thoughtful or not. At this point, I need to focus more on what I mustn’t do–mustn’t blame–than what others aren’t doing. Watching our friend John minister to our friend Tom who is ill, I shake my head at John’s kindness and goodness…when my knee was out of commission and Bill was in bed fighting COVID and we couldn’t walk Uschi, John came and walked her for us day after day.
Yes, there are dear celebrators in this world.
Those who sit on their hands, well that’s their loss.
Not going to worry about them anymore.
But I’d love to remember what I was going to say…
What I have learned is that birthday wishes that have to be elicited from the wisher don’t mean much to me, the wishee. And also, I have often learned to my chagrin that when I was having bad feelings about someone being neglectful, they often were having their own personal hard time that I knew nothing about. Your hospitality has always been such a pleasure, I tend to just let it completely erase any feelings about that person who should have called but didn’t. Sometimes a faulty memory can be a blessing I think.
Apt, as ever. Thank you so much, dear Deborah. You keep me level…
So sorry to miss our dear friend Bill’s B-Day. We love him to the moon and back. I’m okay with reminders because time seems to go so fast. Please give Bill a hug from our family.
Darling Michele, warmest thanks for your sweetness, as ever! Will we get to see you and yours soon? Hope so!
Randy & I both send our good wishes for Bill’s 93rd birthday! We are looking forward to seeing you all very soon. 🥳
Thank you, dearest Mark and Randy from us both…we too are eagerly looking forward to your visit!
Ha! So funny. I thought about Bill tons around and on his birthday then sat on my hands forgetting to call. It doesn’t change that fact that I love him to bits and pieces! And love you too Sylvia.
Ach, Kara! Forgive my tardiness…you are so sweet…