Hitting forty – I hit it forty like a fly hitting a windscreen on the M4. I do what I do every year, I worked myself up into a birthday frenzy. I get excited every year about my birthday, it’s my thing. This year it was different, it was the big four zero. This year I was the birthday equivalent of the Incredible Hulk. My birthday excitement escalated into hysteria – liked a tired toddler an hour before bedtime, the tears, screaming and gnashing of teeth was ultimately inevitable.
I woke up on the big day with the annual grumps off my daughter who’s birthday is the day before mine. She’s pissed off I’m just entering birthday mode and hers is all over. Birthday bitterness is how I started my day. She plopped on the bed and declared she was in a “bad mood” so I shunned her from the bedroom. I didn’t want her harshing on my birthday vibe. It wasn’t a great start. I had three cards to open because I’d opened all the other cards as they arrived. So that was my own fault.
Weeks prior to my birthday I had told my husband many times not to buy me a birthday present. Money is tight for us and soon to be getting tighter. As the saintly wife I’am, I instructed him to keep his money for better things, after all, what I wanted for my birthday money couldn’t buy surely. He only fucking listened to me didn’t he. That will teach me. My husband is really thoughtful and kind and patient. My husband, taking me at my word, didn’t buy me an expensive gift, he ordered me a beautiful photograph of me with my beloved big dog and had it blown up and put in a gorgeous frame. It was really sweet and thoughtful and lovely.
The penny dropped that that was my lot. I was like a woman possessed. I was so overcome by emotion and disappointment. Not just disappointment over my birthday presents. I was disappointed things hadn’t gone our way recently. I was gutted my clutch went on the car and put us hundreds further in debt when I was just beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. I was disappointed my step son wasn’t with us and that my son had moved out. Most of all I was angry that at the moment life seems shit and unfair and cruel and nonsensical. Combined with illness and lack of sleep it was all too much. It all came pouring out of me like a tsunami of emotion.
Instead of counting my blessings, being mature and appreciating what I had, I spent most of the morning sobbing like a selfish spoiled brat. I moaned to my husband that nobody cared about my birthday, nobody had made an effort and that all I had was a “poxy picture of a dead dog”. At this point I got a well deserved “fuck you”. If I had been in husband’s shoes I would have punched my own lights out. Instead he just shouted at me. I flounced out of the house returning a few hours later no less miserable or unreasonable.
I apologised for the “poxy picture of the dead dog” comment and we made friends, got dressed and he took me out for a birthday dinner. Only it wasn’t a birthday dinner it was a surprise birthday party. A party that had been planned over weeks and weeks, secretly and single handedly. On top of everything we’ve had on our plates recently my husband had planned a surprise birthday party for me and after a day of copping unrelenting diva shit off me he hadn’t spilled the beans in temper. He is an actual saint.
It was my first ever birthday party. I felt like Bobby in the film the Railway Children when they have a surprise birthday party for her. I’d always wanted to feel like Bobby. My friend’s, my family and my lovely lovely husband. Out of all my birthdays it was the most lovely and the most special, made that way because I’ve found someone who is willing to put my happiness above his own and who even when his awful wife is giving him shit doesn’t tell her to fuck off and stick her surprise birthday party up her arse.
Maybe no more birthday countdowns.