Never feel self-pity, the most destructive emotion there is. How awful to be caught up in the terrible squirrel cage of self. ~ Millicent Fenwick
On the eve of my @@##!! birthday, a milestone in every woman’s life, I was in a pretty darn sour mood. My thoughts ran to decades past, to countless birthday celebrations I’d arranged for my kids, countered by the countless years I’d heard: sorry mom, broke this year, just thought a
I know, I know. Totally a pity party. Pity. Party.
Something in me kind of melted down the week before my birthday, then blazed red-hot the day before, and bubbled up and out like a long-festering volcano. After all I’d given of myself over the years, I felt it was time for a little give back. Okay, so it was an ungodly and horrible thing to think. But there it is. The human part of me.
To be fair, my kids and husband usually remember my birthday in some way or another, but this year, I wanted it to be special. I felt a party was in order. I wished for one, but I knew, of course, we’d only lived here three years, didn’t have that many friends yet, not gonna happen. And I was okay with it. Still I wished, though.
After the eruption, I’d felt remorse and repented to the loved ones I’d melted on most dramatically; but I’d also felt relief. Like a wound had at least been
The day of my birthday arrived, and was particularly delightful. On the actual day, I got cards, flowers, gifts. My husband (of course this was post-rant) bought me a gorgeous and expensive necklace that I really liked and will wear. That night, at my womens’ group, everyone wished me a hearty, healthy birthday (I thought they’d seen it on FB, but later I found out this had NOT been the case) and I felt loved and enjoyed. As I shared about my week to the group, including the pity party and ranting to my kids and husband, they had all stared at me with blank expressions. I thought, wow, my comments must have been really profound.
The next day, after I’d met my husband after work for a quick glass of wine, I was feeling all happy and floaty inside. Maybe this decade of life
We pulled into the carport. Got out of the car. I opened the door and walked in. I was chattering to my husband, thinking about sitting on the deck awhile and watching the birds. He didn’t answer. I stepped one step, then two, down into the kitchen. The screams penetrated my brain like exploding shrapnel.
SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! SURPRISE!!!
They tell me I screamed for 15 full seconds, then started sobbing. Never had I been so shocked and overwhelmed. Several women from my group ran up to pat me on the shoulder, laughing, trying to get me to stop crying. I told them I was crying because kindness always makes me cry, and group-kindness totally puts me over the edge. Then I sobbed some more. Then I saw my oldest daughter’s family smirking in the den, watching. Then I saw all the women – yes that’s right, the women with whom I’d ranted about the lack of a party on this birthday – smiling and laughing with knowing expressions on their faces. Then I saw boatloads of gifts and flowers.
I have to admit though, without my pity party, it would’ve never happened.