There has always been a wee little problem with my birthday being so near Valentine's Day, but most people who cared a whit about me could figure out a way to get it handled. At a store to buy a birthday card, they'd pick up a Valentine's one, too. I would know that they were glad I was born, and that they loved me.
This year's birthday was nice, though, looking at it from a distance, a 52-year-old woman spending her birthday with her son's friends is a little peculiar. And maybe sad.
Then came Valentine's Day. Do you know what I got? Not a card, not a note, not a flower, not a candy, not a balloon --- NOTHING. It was never even mentioned. I sent cards, but got nothing in return. And I am deeply hurt by it.
I've let a lot of occasions go in the last 20+ years, trying to smile through the "ooops"es and the "we spent our money on things for ourselves and anyone else but you"s. But I am officially sick of it now. How much planning and sneaking around and staying up late to make decorations and/or presents do you think I've done over the years? How soon do you think I began thinking about the next big occasion in your life? (HINT: As soon as the present one was over.) How many places have I taken you? How many out-of-the-way errands have I run because it was "really important, Mom"? How many times have I waited in the car for you to be "right back"? How many hours has that thoughtlessness added up to? How many times have I been bored somewhere, but took it because you were having fun? I thought I was giving you examples of generosity and sacrifice, but apparently I was only being a damn doormat.
Does it ever even out between children and parents? I sort of doubt it. And I realize I'm being a selfish, whiney brat about this whole thing. But when your own children --- the only people you have left in the world --- don't even take the time on Valentine's to just write "I love you" on a piece of notebook paper, for crying out loud, it's too much.