Always celebrate days or occasions that are mutually important.
I didn’t mean to forget your birthday this year. Actually, I didn’t forget, your birthday is two days after Christmas Eve, which I also didn’t forget (how could I?), it was just a slow year for presents. I did buy you stuff, didn’t I? I think I did. I didn’t want to buy something too big, I know how concerned you are about materialism, and how wisely you spend your money. You never buy anything you don’t need, and you always find a sale or at least the cheapest store.
Your birthday is important to me, dear, it’s just that I show it by doing the small things. You know, I clear the table after dinner and let you play with the kids (and change the baby’s diapers). I let you sleep an hour extra in the morning (after all, you don’t wake me up when you feed the baby during the night). I do lots of things every day, I just do them with a little more intensity when it’s your birthday.
Of course, we always have visitors at Christmas, and it’s possible they (for some reason) clear the table and make dinner and play with the kids and do all the stuff I should have done, or planned to do (at least think I would have wanted to plan afterwards) — to an untrained observer, it’s not always obvious that we are, I am, celebrating your birthday. But I am, in my heart of hearts.
Technically, I didn’t forget your birthday. It just seemed that way.
As for our wedding anniversary, there was not much to forget in the first place. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do remember our wedding and on which date it all took place — but my birthday is the day before, and our son’s birthday is the day before, and we have never had much of a party that day, there is no tradition, and I am not a person to break a tradition just for the sake of it.
Oh wait, sometimes I am, it’s true. But I shouldn’t make it a habit, should I?
And how does one celebrate, anyway? Send surprise flowers to your work? (Remember I did once? And I signed with Tara!, as I imagine one spells the standard “look at this surprise”-exclamation, and you wanted to send the flowers back, it was clearly a misunderstanding, you didn’t know anyone by the name of Tara?)
Every day is important to us, right? We celebrate every day, just by being us? Right? We don’t need special days and occasions and parties and gifts and hassle. Right?
I already see how things will turn out next Christmas. You will drop a hint or five about what kind of presents you want. I will make tiny mental notes. You will say something in passing about gifts not being the most important thing for us. I will make a huge mental note. I will go to stores to find you gifts, I will have a hard time breathing among the Christmas shoppers, I won’t find exactly what you want me to look for, I’ll leave the shop just to get some air, and I’ll never come back. And when Christmas Eve arrives, I won’t have bought much more than, well, not much more than nothing.
Probably just a book I want to read myself.
Dear wife. I am a terrible shopper. I am terrible at finding and buying gifts. Believe me, I have tried many times, but it seems age and experience isn’t making me better. If I don’t buy you that thing, whatever that thing is, you want me to buy, it’s not because I haven’t been thinking about it. It’s probably because I have been thinking about it too much and gone into brain-freeze mode.
I promise, like I do every year, that this year your birthday will be different. Not only will I buy something, which in itself is not very important, but I’ll show you how much I think about your special day and how much I want that day to be truly special, and that I have made an effort to make it as special as possible.
I don’t want to celebrate my birthdays. It doesn’t make me happy. But I want to celebrate your birthdays, since it makes you happy. And our wedding anniversary. I want to show you that I care.
If you expected me to celebrate your birthday like most other husbands celebrate their wives’ birthdays, if you cared as much about your birthday as most other women, we would have been divorced by now. Isn’t that reason good enough to really celebrate it this year?
Just wait till Christmas this year. It’ll be your best birthday ever.
(PS: How old are you by now?)