Update, and Bad Birthdays
I want to thank everyone for their kind replies and emails after the Caligula incident. I decided to make a complaint, and am now awaiting the slow-moving wheels of the corporate hospital machine to get around to dealing with it. I am considering seeing a lawyer. My pain is unbelievably worse since Caligula's cruel examination.
It couldn't have come at a worse time for me, to top it all off. The 24th would have been my mother's 51st birthday. The 26th was the 7th anniversary of her death.
And tomorrow is my birthday.
My birthday has never been a great time for me. As a kid, my father routinely forgot my birthday entirely. I was the only one of his kids whose birthday he couldn't seem to remember, which did come off as odd to me...seeing as my birthday is exactly one week from my mother's. I recall one year in particular, when he claimed to "feel bad" about having forgotten my 11th birthday, and wanted to make it up to me by throwing me a Skateworld party for my 12th. Now, Skateworld parties were the parties to have when I was a kid. I was thrilled.
The first sign that troubling was a-brewing came a few hours before the party, when my dad called and informed me that he could not attend: he had to work. He then told me that my stepmother and stepsiblings would also not be able to attend, as my former stepmonster had a headache. A lame excuse, but at least the party would be more comfortable for my mother without them there. The second sign that there was a problem came about two hours into the party...when no one had yet to arrive. I was sitting at a table set up for twenty with just my mom and my two sisters. "Mortified" is not even a strong enough word to describe how I felt at that moment. My mother was angry, and made several calls to my dad before she finally found out what had happened: my father had never mailed the invitations. They were still sitting on his desk at work.
My father never apologized for this...and he also never bought me a gift that year because (get this) the party was my birthday present.
The only thing worse than my dad forgetting my birthday was him remembering it. I remember the year I turned 14. It was actually one of my better birthdays; although Dad had forgotten again, my older brother didn't. He was newly home from his first stint in the Army, complete with a German wife. Both of them felt so badly about my dad's treatment of me, that they took me out to the mall. We had dinner, and we saw a movie (Rodney Dangerfield's "Back to School"). I was on cloud nine. My father, however, was seriously pissed. When we got home, he demanded to know why I was coming in an hour past my curfew. After my brother told him what we were doing, my dad stormed off. About a week later, my stepmonster throws a plastic bag in my lap. "Here, now you can quit your bitching." Gee, thanks.
The item inside was not wrapped. The price tags were still on it. And it was probably the very last thing in the entire galaxy that I ever would have wanted.
It was the ugliest pink dress I had ever seen.
Words cannot truly capture the essence of ugliness about this dress. It was a salmon-pink color (pink being then, as now, one of my least favorite colors). There were big, shiny buttons all up the chest from the waistline to the neck. On either side of the buttons were huge, accordian-like panels jutting out. The skirt of the dress was stiff and straight, and to top it all off: it had a HUGE bow on the butt. It was also about a size too small, particularly around the chest.
I hated wearing dresses, and I hated this dress the most. It was so tight across the chest, I felt like I could not breathe. And it was so batshit ugly, I couldn't bear the thought of actually having to appear in public in it. Which I did. Every Sunday, for church, for nearly a year. The nightmare only ended when I "accidentally" lost the hideous thing at the laundromat.
But no bad birthday compares to the my 24th. That was year where I spent the day before my birthday at my mother's funeral.
I wanted to come on here today and say some words about my mother, but I'm going to be honest: I'm just too emotional to do that right now. I don't think I would do her justice in the state I'm in at the moment.
Maybe, when my birthday is over, I can find the right words. Here's hoping.