Birthday blues

"If he says 'Good morning' and then 'Happy birthday,' he has no heart. If he says 'Happy birthday' before 'Good morning,' he’s an idiot."

Birthday blues (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Birthday blues
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
I knew it was coming and I knew I was going to blow it again.
I was going to misbehave again.
I was going to let down those who love me again.
Today, it’s my birthday.
Once again, I wake up and I know I will ruin this day.
I can’t help it.
I go around preaching how I appreciate so much everything I have, how it is all an incredible gift from God, and how just the fact that I am breathing, happy and healthy is already a big thing to celebrate.
Clap clap to me. What an inspiration I am.
Yeah yeah...
Then, comes my own birthday and the whole day before I am already holding my breath and telling myself... don’t screw it up.
And again, I do.
My English birthday falls on December 23.
Perfect date.
Everyone is getting into a festive mood, it’s almost holiday, everyone is already in a party mode, my “Jewish” birthday is on the 10th of Tevet, which usually falls around 10 days after the English date, and for us Jews it’s a fast day.
Enough said.
That’s where my extremism comes from.
Simple.
According to the solar calendar, I was born on extreme party time preparation, the day before “that wonderful time of the year...”
According to the lunar calendar (Jewish) I was born on the day that the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar in the year 3338, laid siege to Jerusalem.
It became a fast day.
So back to me, on the day of my birthday, I wake up already waiting to hear trumpets blaring out of my bedroom door, and breakfast served on a silver platter in bed.
None of that.
So, I go to the bathroom dreaming that for sure the moment I will step out I will be met by a butler who will handle me a special invitation to a ball that has been organized in my honor.
No butler... no invite.
So, I wake up the kids for school ... for sure they will pop out of bed like little puppets just in honor of my birthday.
Nada. “Get uuuuuup!” I hear myself scream. It can’t be. I’m a princess today. I should be in bed picking on a sliced fig while sipping tea.
And then I meet my husband’s eyes, and that’s where the trouble starts.
If he says “Good morning” and then “Happy birthday,” he has no heart.
If he says “Happy birthday” before “Good morning,” he’s an idiot.
If he tries to be romantic and wraps his arms around me at 7 a.m. whispering “Happy birthday” in my ear, he is sleazy.
If he brings me a present in bed, he is cheesy.
If he sings happy birthday with the kids, he’s ridiculous.
If he forgets to mention my birthday, he’s dead.
And this is just the beginning of the day.
As I walk outside, I am shocked that there is no banner with my name in gigantic letters hanging from a building wishing me happy birthday, and when I go to the super, I can’t believe that I am picking my own vegetables today, I should be at home being glammed up for the ball... in my honor.
So, I start getting in a bad mood, and when I actually meet someone who vaguely says, “Hey, it’s your birthday today. I saw it on Facebook. Happy birthday,” I just brush it off, “Oh, I almost forgot. Thanks for reminding me. Who counts by now?”
MEEEEEE! I count every stupid person that remembers to sing me happy birthday and actually remembers that it is my birthday.
The day is slowly finishing, and I picked a fight with everyone in the family who tries not to respond to me knowing already my mood on this day.
The sky becomes dark and I feel like I could have done so much more today because today I have special powers bestowed on me. I can bless, I can heal, I can pray for the sick and needy, I can make dreams come true, I can bring peace to the world. But none of that has happened and my birthday is almost over.
As darkness falls, I realize that again, no surprise birthday party has been arranged for me where I open the door and drop my jaw like in an amazing movie scene, and no Ferrari wrapped in a big satin bow is waiting outside my house, and no small box of Cartier is hiding under my pillow.
And that the world is still the same, I am just a year older.
So, I end up crying like a baby in my bathroom while blowing my nose noisily and thinking what a fool I am.
It’s called birthday blues, sweetie, my mum whispers on the other side of the phone, the only person who has the courage to speak to me. We all have it. It’s normal.
Really? I thought I was crazy.
My dear friends, it’s not about the fancy gifts, or a simple gift, or a wrong gift, or the party that didn’t happen, or the flowers that never came.
It’s all about expectations.
When you expect the world, you will always be let down.
The problem is that on this day I will always be expecting the world, and I will always be let down and I will never learn my lesson, making me do every year the same mistake again.
Hurting my loved ones.
My dear husband is already scared when my birthday approaches. I can see the look of fear in his eyes as the day gets closer, that feeling of lost, of “Help me! What can I do this year that will make her happy?”
Nada.
It’s not about you, it’s about me.
Sorry.
I am never happy with who I am and what I have achieved. I can be more. I want to do more.
So, when I put my little prince in bed and he gives me a kiss and tells me, “Ma, it’s your birthday today,” I realize that I don’t need any presents, and I smile at the huge fortune I have while hugging my children.
As the day is finally over and I make my way back to bed, relieved that my birthday day is finished and realizing, after being a bitch to half of the world, that yes, I am so lucky for all I have and am in no need of “presents.” I gracefully pick up my pillow, sure that I will see a small red Cartier box...
No, also this year...no...
I put on my hand cream, turn off the light and angrily push the covers over my head.
Another year has gone by, baruch Hashem, and again I didn’t learn my lesson.
Happy birthday and cheers to me.
Good night.

The writer, married with five kids, is from Italy and currently lives in Jerusalem, where she heads HadassahChen Productions. A director, writer and performer, she also heads the Keren Navah Ruth Foundation in memory of her daughter, to help families with sick children. hjm74@hotmail.com