Birthday blues happen every year and you have come to dread the appearance of both your own birthdays and mine. You would much rather neither taken place if you are entirely honest. The day is spent treading on eggshells as you await the inevitable argument and dressing down that you will receive.
The annual sense of disappointment will happen again and again and you hope somehow it will change, but it never does.
Let’s begin with my birthday.
You dedicate time and money to making my birthday an enjoyable and memorable occasion. I dedicate a degree of energy to ensure that it is memorable, but for the wrong reasons. You plan something special to mark the occasion and go to considerable lengths to organise a surprise party or a trip out somewhere you believe I will like. You scour catalogues and the Internet trying to find that gift you hope will make me break out in a smile.
Most normal people will be happy with half the effort you put into pleasing me on my birthday. Not me. The occasion may involve a grand day out and a spectacular gift but just as it did last year and the year before that, it will end in an argument and us lashing out at you.
On the face of it, one would imagine that just for once we would get throughout the day without causing some kind of drama. After all, the day is all about us. Exactly what we like and what we want.
People wish us a happy birthday, they send us cards, they give us presents and you run around lifting and carrying for us (even more than usual). The spotlight is firmly on us. We drink up all this fuel but still, we want more.
Every single second has to be about us. Do not expect us to thank you or anyone else who provides us with a gift. Remember, we are entitled to receive them. We may have received gifts of twenty people but you know that all we will harp on about is the person we did not get a gift from whom we expected to.
That becomes the focus of our irritation. The brilliant and thoughtful gifts are left to one side as we rail against this one person who has not bought us something.
It does not matter that they send a card, it does not matter that we did not send them a gift on their birthday (and never have done), and it does not matter that nobody else would expect this distant relative to send such a gift. We will raise it and repeat it and rant about it.
Woe betides you if you do not give to us the exact gift we expected. If you fail to do this we will comment and lash out at you.
You cannot possibly love us since you did not give us the right gift. We conveniently ignore the fact that what you have brought us is still a wonderful gift and we actually do like it.
That is not the point. It is not the gift we wanted and you will be subjected to our scathing remarks.
If by sheer dint of exhaustive effort you manage, against all the odds, to work out what we want (don’t expect us to help you by explaining what we want, we expect you to know this through telepathy) and give us the right gift, do not expect smiles and thanks.
We need to make a scene. Instead, we will remark,