March has been pretty darn busy between midterms and final papers. But I guess that isn’t a good enough excuse to forget my dad’s birthday.
I didn’t forget this year! But my family has forgotten my dad’s birthday more than once. And now it has become one of those funny stories we bring up every time March rolls around. It is also one of those things that resurfaces if my father is losing his side in an argument.
The sad thing is that my mother, sister, and I all know the date of my dad’s birthday. But on the day of, we forget. The very first time we forgot his birthday was around 5 or 6 years ago. My dad thought we were going to surprise him with a cake or something, but the reality was that we didn’t order one at all. He waited the whole day until night time came and my mom was about to get ready for bed. He said to her, “Don’t you have something to say to me?”
Maybe he was expecting a “Happy Birthday!” or a “Surprise!” and my sister and I popping out from under the bed. It didn’t happen.
My mother, who was in a grumpy mood, snapped back, “Be quiet, I’m going to bed now.”
To which my dad said (very pitifully in my imagination), “It’s my birthday today…”
Shocked, my mom let out a scream and ran to me and my sister’s room. Both of us screamed as well because we couldn’t believe we had actually forgotten it. I remembered distinctively writing in my calendar to remind myself, yet on the day of I never looked at my calendar.
It’s a funny story I like to tell to other people (in hopes they will remind me each year just in case I forget again…). But every time I do, I feel a pang of guilt. This isn’t a onetime story- something similar happened last year when he came home from work expecting to see a cake box in the fridge, and realizing there wasn’t one. We ended up hastily buying a random cake right after that, but the damage had already been done.
I know my dad doesn’t ask for much from me or really anyone else in my family. He doesn’t expect us to buy him presents (I bought him Superman briefs one Christmas… that he made my mother secretly return… I’m still bitter about it) or go out to eat in a nice, fancy restaurant. The only reason I suspect that he wants a cake is because he knows I like to eat cake (since my dad can’t really eat dairy products). And to have not one but all three of the girls in his life forget his birthday… I bet he actually feels sad about it after laughing it off.
Even though birthdays have become something I like to keep more on the down-low side of things as I’ve grown older, if my family had forgotten my birthday I’d definitely be upset about it.
So a Happy Birthday to my dear daddy! I’m sorry and thankful for your forgiveness and love. I promise we won’t forget a third time!
A father is the template of a man Nature gives a girl.
― Allison Pearson, I Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother