Most people think it’s because I hate admitting to getting another year older. I could care less. It’s not like stressing over the clock will make it reverse.
The reason I don’t like celebrating my birthday goes back to my childhood. Leading up to my fifth birthday, my mother and father were at the breaking point in their marriage. And my mother had threatened to leave again. But this time my father didn’t beg her to stay.
So the Countdown Began
“I’m leaving on Lisa’s birthday.” And as each day passed, the threats got louder and more hurtful.
Like when she would tell me. “If your father really loved you, he would make me stay.” Basically, it was drilled into my head that it was my fault my father didn’t want my mother in his life anymore.
Around that time is when I started throwing up, non-stop for weeks. If I had been taken to the Dr’s, they would have said I needed help probably. But my mother self-diagnosed it as me trying to get attention.
No, I was just so upset I threw up everything. As if I could get rid of the stress I was under, by pushing everything out of my body.
The thought of leaving my father, my home, and everything I knew was quite upsetting. I couldn’t imagine a new life so far away from the only life I had ever known.
When a Door Closes, Sometimes a Window Doesn’t Open
That year I lost my father for the first time. Ten years later, right around the same time the countdown began, I lost him for good when he died. So my birthdays are just a reminder of him, and how I’ll never have the chance to spend time with him again.
None of it is my fault. I didn’t need therapy to show me that. But it still leaves a bitterness inside of me that I can’t shake this time of year.
She gets to do what she wants, with who she wants, and I get to miss my father. It doesn’t seem fair. And to celebrate seems even sadder.
What I Hope Comes from Sharing my Story
I hope that it finds parents who are going through a split, and reminds them to see the world through their child’s eyes. Because no one should ever use their children as bargaining chips, and especially never associate them with your failed relationship in any way.
No matter what you believe the other person has done to you, it does not change that they are your child’s other parent. Even if they were a monster to you, as long as they don’t hurt the child, that child has a right to spend time with their other parent.
You Are Not Alone
And for anyone who has suffered something similar, I wish I could tell you that in all of my years, my pain has gone away, but it hasn’t. I’ve just gotten better at dealing with it. Just know that you are not alone, there are others out there that have suffered injustices too at the hands of the ones who were supposed to shield you from pain.
So this year as my birthday comes around, yet again. It’s a mere reminder of all the years I have not gotten to spend time with my father. The one person in this world that I believe loved me unconditionally, the way only a parent can.
The reason I wrote this post is that I want to try and move on, once and for all. I’m sure I’ll always think of my father, especially on my birthday. But I’m hoping that I will for once just be able to enjoy my birthday and let the bitterness fade away. Because I know it’s what my father would want for me.
Thanks for reading my personal essay!
Starting is the hardest part
I don’t care how the song goes, starting is always the hardest part. For me anyways, and I’m guessing some of you.