Wednesday, October 13, 2004

blogger birthday etiquette

ok, i've been avoiding writing today because it feels so weird to talk about my birthday. i'm not the kind of person who fishes for compliments or well wishes, and telling you all today is my birthday is just plain strange to me.

i don't know about you, but any day that gets my expectations and anticipation up is always a disappointment. not that the people who love me don't do enough or honor me, i just have a huge problem with building things up to unreachable heights and am left feeling glum and melancholy.

it's a dumb way to be, i try to avoid it at all costs, but birthdays, christmas and valentine's always leave me disturbed with myself. today is no exception. i just wanted my father to remember, without having to be reminded. it means so much more that way. no luck. he heard the phone call 'happy birthdays' and checked his watch for the date. he looked at me like i forgot to tell him and ran downstairs to write the check. man i love him, but just once i'd love it if he remembered.

the check always feels like guilt money to me, i'd rather have a daisy picked because he remembered instead of $$ given because he forgot.

liam and i 'celebrated' in dallas. well, actually he forgot (but it wasn't my birthday yet, so he should have gotten grace, but i didn't give it to him... man i can be such a brat). we take one night to dine alone, away from the others on our team. we set aside sunday night and headed to the west end market.

we had been to dallas three years before and i could not have been more stunned that the exact same thing happened - right down to the fight in front of the planet hollywood - drown out by the music from joe's crab shack. you know that i have a difficult time celebrating, i never realized how stunted liam was in this area though before that night. we had a budget, and had saved by having brunch on sunday, so the money wasn't even coming out of our pockets - but liam looked at the menu prices and got sticker shock and just shut down. his 'oh i don't care where we eat, you pick' became a lie to me as i chose and he resisted. i became hurt and very angry and kept walking - until the road ends in front of planet hollywood.

trapped there and beginning the argument i realized that three years, almost to the day we stood in that same EXACT spot, having the SAME exact argument - and then my anger escalated to all out fury. it's a good thing the music was so loud because i was at the point i didn't care anymore. i was so wounded that i didn't count, that i wasn't worth a budgeted meal in a nice restaurant. that we couldn't just once do something, anything without thinking it through to death. that there is no spontaneous joy or carefree celebration. we program joy and fun for others but we don't warrant any of it ourselves.

one of the habits liam struggles with is being 'teflon man' - nothing sticks to him. in his family of origin blame was the hot potato passed from sibling to sibling because the rage of dad fell hard and fast. apologizing becomes a blanket liam lays over everything without specifics and because it is so vague and generalized it becomes meaningless to me. he thinks he's apologized and i should just accept/forgive/move on. i am unable.

when i spoke of my hopes and dreams of redemption of that fight three years hence, and the desire to have just been impetuous and crazy, just once to celebrate my birthday he finally began to understand the depth of the emotion i was dealing with. by that time i was finished. i knew i wouldn't be able to pull it back together enough to sit in a restaurant, even a noisy disappointing one just to sate the hunger. i began to walk back to the trolley. he followed out of obligation, both of us stomping in silence, pain and confusion.

when our dysfunction and family history collides it is ugly, painful and explosive. we sat waiting for the trolley in the cold rain and he finally heard me, apologized specifically and we both cried, tears of healing and of forgiveness. we realized how we both truly wanted the same thing and both had little idea how to achieve that. we decided on a new and different restaurant and enjoyed a lovely meal, far better than we've enjoyed in a very long time. each course was salve to our torn souls, and we shared a beautiful dinner celebration together.

the jars of clay concert followed and we sat in the front row remembering the amazing summer concert we shared at creation and allowed the music to knit us together in a way that words could not. they began to play 'love song for a savior' and liam asked me to dance - we stood and slowdanced and healed places deep within during that beautiful time of intimacy. we skipped the late night options and opted for our own. it was a glorious end to a very intense, deeply emotional day.

so you see, i have no reason to be melancholy today, i truly don't. i just so long to be grateful for what i have, not wishing and grasping for something more. contentment, surprises and open hands is how i long to be. disappointment marking days that should be enjoyed is not how i want to live my life. father, help me to open my hands, learn how to receive what is given without preconceived notions and expectations. help me to be grateful for all i have and am blessed with today, and every day.

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