Saturday, October 7, 2006

Why I Hate My Birthday – No, Seriously, I’m a MAJOR Asshole

Over the years, I had of course voiced many times the whole thing about how my birthday sucked and why to my parents, family, friends, strangers on the bus, my cat, the family dog, and any other poor schmuck who happened to somehow get on the topic with me. Truly, I am an asshole about this. So, after my thirty fourth birthday, and a lifetime of my parents forgetting my birthday, forgetting when they did remember that is all about me, me, me, and when they remembered to get me a gift, getting me stuff I hated, I announced that they’d had thirty four chances, and now they were shit out of luck. I would no longer be succumbing to the mandatory spend it with my family requirement.

Then, by the time my thirty fifth birthday rolled around I was the main care taker of two terminally ill people I dearly and desperately loved, and about whose impending demise I was trying to bullshit myself and everyone else. Of course, all bets about the whole I am not spending my birthday with you crap from the year before were off. A few weeks before my birthday, as I sat on the floor of the emergency room, yet again, waiting with my parents, my Mom asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I literally could think of nothing I really wanted to do other than take a freaking nap. My Mom asked if we could go out to dinner together.

By then my parents had given me power of attorney, made me executrix of their wills, appointed me to handle their affairs and given me the legal mechanisms to become their conservator if necessary. I was taking them back and forth to doctor after doctor, constantly terrified something was happening to them when I was not with them, working full time, going to school full time and trying not to slap the shit out of my sisters who were seemingly doing dick to help. I was so tired. I really thought I did not expect to do anything for my birthday. Pretty much if I wanted something that was affordable as a gift I already had it, like books, music, clothes, and stuff like that. Everything else I wanted was unreasonable to expect as a gift like a Porsche 911, a cure for what was killing my parents, firm thighs, or a husband to help me with all that was going on.

Several days before my birthday, my Mom brought it up again. I had forgotten. I said sure we could go out to dinner. She said it would be a surprise. So, on the day we were supposed to go, my Mom, Dad and younger sister, who lived with them, were supposed to come pick me up at noon. By around 12:30 I was monumentally pissed. Seriously could nobody just get the fuck out of their own way to just do something, anything, for me ever? Having amazing psychic Mom powers, my Mom called my just then to tell me they were running late because my sister did not clean out the car yet.

Now that is a feat unto itself. Some Dad’s play golf, some fish, some go to the gym, my Dad acquired cars, old junky ones that he somehow kept running with the aid of copious amounts of duct tape. Both my parents were children during the Depression, and like many people of their generation were consequently pack rats. Their house, cars, everything were just packed with junk. I’m still sifting through it all! By this time my Mom and Dad were both having extreme difficulty getting around. They had only one vehicle they could both get in and out of by then. Of course they could not clean out the car themselves. Of course my sister could not just do what she said she would do when she said she would do it.

Then about an hour later my Mom called and asked me if I could come over and then drive where we were going in their car since by then my Mom could no longer get in and out of mine. I said sure, I would be right there, thinking we would go hang out somewhere near their house or something. Oh, meanwhile, my Dad is always a pain in the ass about going anywhere. He would pull this stunt where he would refuse to go, and then need to be talked into it such and extent that by the time he agreed to go you a) did not want to go yourself anymore and b) wanted to kill him. So when I get to my parents house my Dad is in full on pain in the ass mode, my Mom is doing that pained put upon guilt inducing thing Moms do so well, the car is still not clean, and they have decided that my sister will drive my Mom in their car and I would drive my Dad in mine. Great, I get to be trapped in the car with the mighty king of the backseat drivers while he is in full on pain in the ass mode. Happy Birthday to me!

Oooh, it gets better. Another joke in my family about me, besides the never seeming to even pause for a breath when I talk, is that they say the hospital gave them the wrong kid since they claim they are beer people and I am a champagne child. Mostly this is ok, and a source of great amusement to one and all. But, it was my birthday, dammit! Could we not go somewhere I like or do something I like? Admittedly, when it comes to eating establishments I am a notorious snot. I like to go places with tablecloths and what I refer to as a pepper dude. This is the guy whose job it is to carry around the pepper mill, and ask you if you would like any pepper. So, I am supposed to get in my car, drive 50 (FIFTY!) miles with captain crab ass, and go eat at a restaurant that serves a kind of food I notoriously dislike. AAAUGH! I was so tired. I was never sleeping. My car did not have much gas. At the time I was commuting almost two hours each way to and from work, and did not want to drive anywhere else against my will. I do not like to drive in the dark. I do not like to drive on the road we would have had to take to get there. I do not like my birthday.

I really would have liked it if they got me a manicure since my nails were bitten to the quick, or a facial, or something, anything just for me. I was terrified of being so far from home and the good hospitals with them. I was afraid my parents, my Mom in particular, would not fare well on such a protracted adventure. I was afraid both their little oxygen tanks would run out. I was mystified as to how they could think driving all over hells half acre with their lives in my hands could possibly be my idea of a good time. I really had hoped it would be something simple they wanted to do for me, something where they understood how exhausted I was, how terrified I was, how much I wanted and needed to just sit down for a minute and not have to worry for a minute. I was burnt out.

I did not appear sufficiently thrilled about driving the fifty miles there with captain crab ass, then the fifty miles back in the dark. So, my Mom gave me that withering guilt inducing make you realize all the crappy things you have done since you ever born Mom look, my Dad refused to go, and my sister STILL had not cleaned the car. So, to review, for my birthday, I am to drive a long distance to a place I do not want to go, to do something I do not want to do, two hours later than we were supposed to leave, with my guilt emanating Mom, my sister who so desperately needed a kick in the ass no jury would have convicted me, and my Dad who was in full on pain in the ass mode. I do not know why I did just not start doing heroin right there.

So, then I said I would not go either, and I left. When I am upset I go for a walk, when I am really upset I go for a drive. I like to drive, even in my idiot mature responsible adult car that I had acquired the year before because you cannot get two old people, two portable oxygen tanks, and a wheel chair into a two-door sports car, really, you can’t, I tried. I can think well in the car. I find driving anywhere but work soothing. It was a nice day. I had a good time driving much too fast, until that day I had no idea my practical car could actually go that fast, with all the windows down and playing music too loud. So I was busy thinking about what an asshole I am, and how much I hate my birthday, and what kind of scumbag am I to ditch two terminally ill people who love me. So I went back.

My Dad was really mad and had gone to get coffee, which is what he did when he was upset. Of course I freaked out about this too since he was not supposed to be driving. I talked to my Mom. I tried to tell her why I was upset. I didn’t feel like she understood. My Mom said, "this is how you are." My Mom just figured I am an asshole about my birthday, and that is just how it is. I went home and felt sorry for myself. I even did not call them or anything the next day. The day after that, my actual birthday day, I went over to put their meds together for the week, as if Mr. and Mrs. Non-compliant Patient took their meds. I also compulsively needed to check on them, hover over them, and make sure they were eating, feeding the dogs, and to see if my sister was doing something, anything, to help. They weren’t mad anymore and happy to see me. I was still sad, and still hating my birthday, and still could not figure out what the fuck made anybody think I would want to go anywhere but bed and do anything but sleep when I got there. This was my last birthday with my Mom and Dad; they were both dead within six weeks. I’m an asshole.

1 comment:

SBB said...

No you are not an asshole. You are human, and it sounds like you are a wonderful daughter.

Remember - you are human, not a saint - your family didn't understand you, that's not your fault. Your parents still loved you, even if they didn't understand you, so give yourself a break. You deserve it, and any parent would be lucky to have had you as their daughter.

lots of love, SBB