When I started this blog 2 years ago, one of my earliest posts was about my birthday and how my husband gave me a calculator and got us burgers from a fast food place for dinner. I had thought that, 2 years later, he would have gotten a little better at the whole birthday thing. Guess what? I was wrong.
First, my husband proudly proclaimed that he was taking me to dinner and I got excited. We hadn’t been out to dinner since 5 months earlier when we celebrated our anniversary and I was itching for a night out. I asked him who he arranged to babysit our daughter and got a blank stare in reply. “Umm…Isn’t your mother coming over?” Well, she was coming over in the afternoon but had to leave by 4:30, which I had already told him and he either (a) wasn’t listening or (b) didn’t believe me. So dinner was a no-go.
Then around mid-afternoon, I said to him, “there will be cake, right?” Here’s the thing: I don’t need or want fancy gifts for my birthday. I have a wonderful family and that’s enough for me. I certainly didn’t want my husband spending a lot of money (that we don’t have) on extravagant presents. But the one thing I do require is a cake and a candle. Maybe it’s a superstition of mine or maybe it’s just a ritual that makes me feel good but I like to blow out a candle and make a wish for the year ahead. It’s something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember and it’s not a birthday without it. My husband’s response to my question? Yet another blank stare. “Umm…where can I get a cake around here?”
This is when I knew that things were not going to go the way I had hoped. I told him he could buy cake mix from the store and do it himself. That didn’t go over too well. Apparently, he’s never baked a cake before and didn’t feel a whole lot of confidence in attempting it. Eventually, after much back-and-forth, we drove over to a cupcake shop and he waited in the car while I went inside and had to buy my own birthday cupcake. I reminded my husband that I would at least like a candle on my cupcake and when he ran down to the drugstore that evening, I figured that there would be one thing that he didn’t mess up.
After dinner (leftovers. yes, instead of getting a nice dinner out, I got reheated leftovers.), my husband asked me if I was ready for my cupcake. I said that I would and expected to be presented with a cupcake on a plate with a candle on top and get sung ‘happy birthday’ to. Instead, he plopped the cupcake down in front of me – still in its box. That was it. No singing. No fancy presentation. No candle. And when I expressed my sadness at not getting at least a candle to blow out and make a wish on, he actually got a chopstick out of the kitchen drawer and tried to light that. It burnt out before I even got near it.