Father’s day is just around the corner and its a few days before H’s 44th birthday.
Before H, I really enjoyed doing special things for the people I love on their special day, and loads of days in between. But, last year H had one of his rage sessions and forbidden me to ever acknowledge his birthday again.
This is how it went. H told me he never really had anyone do anything for his birthday. With the exception of a surprise party his ex-wife had thrown him. He gushed about how amazing it was. But that was the only time she made an effort. In my mind, I wanted him to have that awesome feeling again, though on a more modest scale. So, I found a beach camping site with tide pools and reserved that for his birthday weekend. I wanted to surprise him and totally pamper him that weekend. I told him to reserve that weekend for me and to be ready to leave by 9 am on Sat. This was 2 weeks before B-day. About a week before, he made a car appointment for that Saturday at 10 am. I reminded him about the save the date. He got pretty angry but changed the date. Then, a few days before the weekend, he mentioned heading over to his B friend’s house on Sunday. I had reminded him several times about the weekend already because he forgets everything. So I got the impression he didn’t want to go away with me. I asked him if he would rather hang out with friends on the weekend, it was his birthday so I would understand. He got angry again and told me to back off, he simply forgot.
I had spent the week before getting our camping gear out of storage. I bought him 2 gifts and 2 different cards and wrote a poem for him (I did that for him when we were dating) and I got all his favorite foods ready. My son was in on it and was helping me get things ready. Friday night, I had the cooler out on the back patio. H saw it and sighed and stated “I hope to god we’re not camping this weekend.” Then he started drinking. I panicked. I didn’t want to ruin his B-day. I got on the computer while he was watching TV and found a hotel at the same beach and reserved that for Sat. And because camping was out now, I unpacked my car and put everything in our outside storage closet. I came back inside and H had moved to the bed room. I checked in on him and he was in bed watching TV. I went back out to unpack the cooler and he came in and saw I was putting food in the fridge. He started yelling at me and demanded to know what I was doing. When I said my surprise was taking him camping and I was going to surprise him with plan B he became even more infuriated. He said I should know he hates surprises. And then told me I had just ruined his B-day.
I felt like I’d been slapped in the face. He didn’t know how much work I’d put into his weekend but I didn’t expect him to be so mean and disrespectful. So, I started to tear up. Not a full cry but there were tears and he saw them and that really made him mad. So he told me that I was never allowed again to even acknowledge his birthday. He didn’t want gifts or cards. His birthday was off limits for me. Then he stormed off to bed.
My son saw the whole thing and gave me a hug. He knew how much work I’d done. But that really broke my heart. I took his gifts back and threw away the cards. On Sat I didn’t say anything. He went out on Sat, I have no idea where and spent his B-day with is friend where he got a present and a card and proudly showed them to me when he got home.
I’ve tested the waters here and there to see if maybe the threat was only made in anger but he isn’t budging.
The last thing we celebrated was Christmas. I bought him so nice gifts. He bought me a box set of picture frames and told me he was going to print out my favorite photos and hung them for me. I sent the photos and wouldn’t you know it, 6 months later the frames are still in that box.
I’m conflicted. Do I just let it be? Should I ignore Fathers day and his birthday or do I try again and risk another angry outburst?