Many of us have spent birthdays or some gift-giving holiday forgotten about by that person who we thought was our special someone or worse, by one or more of our family members. After the initial shock or dismay of realizing we’ve been forgotten wears off, we experience that questioning period and ask, how could this have happened? Many of us answer that question by feeling compelled to make excuses for the other person’s bad behavior and obvious indifference towards us. After all, how could someone who loves us treat us that way? We feel embarrassed and reluctant to say the truth out loud!
Next comes the anger usually followed by either an ugly confrontation that leads to lame excuses being made by the other person or silence where we let our feelings fester in silence. At this point we have a decision to make. Either we read the writing on the wall and like ourselves enough to say thanks, but no thanks and move on or we commit ourselves to an unsatisfying one-sided relationship where the mold has already been cast. For those of us who have taken the road of departure, the reality of how harsh living that way was, is seen in full when we finally meet someone who truly does care. That person will remember birthdays and special days just because they really do love us and seeing us smile is all they need or want. Unfortunately, I've yet to have that experience with this magical, mythical, mystical creature, but I haven't given up hope yet. Perhaps Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny can help me out.
Being forgotten about by our families is a little more complex. As an adult I can count on my brothers not acknowledging my birthday. After all I have revealed about them, I'm sure that comes as no surprise. The surprise is when they do remember me and call to wish me a happy birthday. That mold was cast many, many years ago and remains virtually untouched to this day. Sure, I have mixed feelings about it. Yes, part of me would love to have three older brothers I feel love me and care about me, but a bigger part of me would feel skeptical towards any such display. The coup de grâce in being forgotten for me is having my own mother forget me. Sure, I could mark it on her calendar, but why bother when she doesn't look at the calendar? I could ask her if she's forgotten something, but why bother making both of us feel bad? Suffering in silence is the name of that old familiar game where my family is concerned. It's too late to change, so all I can do is recognize our shortcomings and accept them. And because I like myself and haven't gotten to the point of forgetting my own birthday and Christmas, I always buy myself a present.