Small Sprog has been at his dads this weekend as has his sister. He always gets dropped off here with me at 7.30am before school every other Tuesday morning (I have always thought this ridiculous when he could come home on a Monday night, anyway, that's how things go I suppose).
So this year both children were away on my birthday. Tall Girl sent a Happy Birthday text before school yesterday and posted on my Facebook page. It was enough to know she had not forgotten and had thought about me. I heard nothing from Small Sprog (despite his owning a phone, email and an illegal - age wise- Facebook page set up in cahoots with his sisters help!)
This morning when I opened the front door to him he did his usual disappearing act into the living room to watch TV. Perhaps he had forgotten that it was my birthday yesterday? However, on watching a news item about someone else's birthday he commented that it was the day after mine. There, I thought, he hasn't forgotten.
But such a great sadness came over me. He had not wished me happy birthday when he saw me today, no words, no card, no text, no small scribbled drawing, nothing. I felt empty, abandoned.
Is it wrong of me to expect an acknowledgement, no matter how small? He wouldn't have had a chance to buy anything but words cost nothing and a home-made card is treasured forever. What have I done wrong? Have I not tried to bring him up to do all these things, to make a fuss of people we love and friends we treasure? Do we not always make cards for friends, for Granny? I even still get them to make cards for their dad on his birthday (though I did not insist for Fathers day this year, the first time. But I did take them to the shop to buy him a Fathers Day gift which Tall Girl had decided on)
Is it wrong to feel so desolated? Perhaps I am being silly. He is only 11. Yet I am doubting my parenting skills even now. By now, shouldn't the whole palaver of celebrating birthdays be ingrained, isn't it all part of being a social being, being aware of others feelings? How would he feel if we all ignored his birthday?! We have traditions on birthdays, special breakfasts, a birthday banner and balloons, a cake, cards, presents for all our birthdays, all those things. Has all this not made an impression?
I had a meal with my parents last night. Later in the evening my lovely Mum gave me a food parcel to bring home. "The children will want to celebrate your birthday" She said "They'll be sad they've missed it" Inside the parcel was a homemade birthday cake complete with candles (though not the full amount!), some chocolate slices, meringues, cream and strawberries. All the ingredients for a great birthday tea.
I unpacked it all today and gazed. Such a lovely thoughtful thing that she has done for us all, but I really don't feel like celebrating anymore. A small thing, but I feel suddenly empty.