Tuesday 6 December 2016

The great (yearly) debate

It's my birthday today, and I'm feeling the love: Lots of messages, emails, texts, and phone calls from friends, loved ones, and in some cases, complete strangers. (Thanks, Internet.)
Thank you all, you are so awesome!!!

But it wouldn't be a normal birthday if we wouldn't have our yearly fight. You see, one of us believes in presents, and the other one doesn't.  
Despite my best attempts, I have yet to convince this darling, exasperating, stubborn husband of mine that expecting a birthday present is not "spoiled diva-behaviour", or an expression of my "princess tendencies".

I've tried countless times to explain to him that this is how people behave, and that one acknowledges a loved one's birthday with a bit of special attention: A card, cake, flowers, or a gift, maybe even a special surprise. I hinted that some people may even do all of the above, but that information was too much to process for him, so I hastily changed the subject.

Last night at dinner, (after yet admittedly another long, exhausting day), I briefly raised the subject of my birthday:
"Just to make it clear, you have nothing for me tomorrow, right? No gift, no flowers?"
"Right," he confirmed.
"Hrumph," I answered, and went to bed shortly after.

You see, you would think that after 14 birthdays together, I have gotten used to his annoying quirk of not wanting to celebrate a birthday, but as it turns out, I haven't.

I know that I don't need a present. We just bought a house for god's sake, and I bought a ton of new stuff for it, and then there is this beaut:

According to the locals, it's a necessity and not an indulgence, so who are we to argue? We got it from a neighbour for a good price (at least that's what people tell me, I have no idea), and it's a blast to ride around on that thing.

But anyway, as I've tried to explain to Richard, that's besides the point.
The point of having a birthday is being spoiled by your loved ones, particularly your husband who claims to love you oh-so-much, and that's just a fact, so stop arguing. (He never stops.)

He would like to skip the day altogether, because he hates a fuss.
I would like to wake up to a champagne breakfast, with everyone I love gathered miraculously around my bed, lit-up birthday cake in their collective hands, singing "Happy Birthday", and feeding me bits of birthday cake and chocolate.

Our "compromise" looks like this:

Me, upon waking up: "It's my birthday!"
Him, still asleep, mumbling: "Happy birthday babe."
Me, slightly put out: "Get up, we want to go out for breakfast in two hours, you still have to feed the animals and get ready!"
Him: "I'm tired, go away."

I'm stomping off (probably with some door slamming to emphasize my annoyance), and dedicate myself to coffee and social media.

Me: "Everybody is wishing me a happy birthday online, I feel so loved!"
Him: [unintelligible murmur]

The phone rings: My mom. She never calls unless it's mine or Richard's birthday. All the other times, we call them, because "You know we don't like talking on the phone," she tells me, the daughter who lives 10,000 km away.


"Happy Birthday! What are you doing today?"
Immediately, I go into "act like everything is perfect"-mode: "Oh, we are fine! We are not really celebrating this year, with the move and all, but Rich is taking me to brunch to this cute little cowboy-restaurant, and then we get our Christmas tree in the woods and decorate it together!"

When in reality, our day unfolds like this:

We have a fight because he won't get out of the damn bed (plus the whole non-present thing is sitting in the room like a huge, present-shaped elephant), during breakfast he unsuccessfully tries to organise a courier for a work-related project (his work, not mine), blames me for not having done so online, which results in me calling them and doing it for him, successfully, because women rule. (Btw, no thanks yet.)

We are late to meet our friend who is going to take us to a good Christmas tree spot (because someone wouldn't get up this morning). Once at home, Richard plants himself in front of the TV because "his back hurts", and I will decorate the tree by myself later, once it's defrosted (it was -16°C up there).

But here is the thing: This yearly fight is a tradition. The great debate never yields any winners, which you could interpret as there being only losers, but I prefer to see it as a tie, every year.

And it's a day that may never turn out the way I hoped it would, but it's always interesting.
This time, it looked exceedingly pretty:

Tree cutting crew
Getting the chainsaw ready
Sexy lumber jack

I could be mad that the champagne I'm drinking as I'm writing this post was bought by me, and not by my husband. But instead (mellowed by said champagne), I'm choosing to see this fact as proof of my own power and independence, and I'm grateful for a fun and unusual day. 

And another great debate. 




  1. I think I have to agree.....with each of you.
    I have a tenancy to hate all celebratory occasions, because even when people to make the fuss, there seems to still always be a dissapointment....so what's the point?
    Glad you guys have this mutual understanding of your opposing views! You two are a strong couple!

    1. Wow, thanks for the compliment, that means a lot! I agree with you, when people do make a big fuss, I get uncomfortable in a hurry and want them to go away. I guess we always want what we don't have lol! Our yearly argument is just a tiny blip in an otherwise great marriage. It's almost a rite of passage, something we do for the sake of tradition and a fondness for arguing. The next day, he brought me a gigantic poinsettia, something else that has become a tradition: Flowers the day after the birthday. We are weird! :-)

  2. I know people have different points of view about birthdays (and holidays, for that matter). I just don't get when he knows it's important to you and still doesn't do anything. When it comes to YOUR birthday, it should be YOUR feelings and opinion that matter, not his. And when it's HIS birthday, then it can go how HE wants it. ;-)

    It does look so beautiful out there, though!

    1. It sure was!
      I have learnt that you can't change another person. Either you accept them the way they are, or you get into a fight. I do a bit of both, sometimes accepting, sometimes fighting! ;-)
      In his defense, he has given me some great gifts over the years. Just not every year - Rich can't buy something just because the date or occasion says he should. He will if he has a good idea, and if not, then he won't. This year with the stress of moving, he was too overwhelmed to think of gift shopping. We kissed and made up, and all is well!

  3. Aww happy birthday friend. I hope it has been a good one regardless of this one thing!

    1. Oh yes, it was. I like to share bits and pieces of how life really is, outside of the glossy Instagram photos or stories of "everything is perfect/I'm so blessed".
      We have a very happy marriage, but nothing is perfect. Happy lives also come with baggage and less-than-perfect days!
      But it's all good, we made up and harmony is restored!

  4. I let my husband off the hook for our anniversary ( just take me to a fancy dinner ) Valentine's day ( 2 weeks after anniversary and 3 days before daughter's birthday ) and Mother's day because I am not his mother. But my birthday? He just takes me shopping most years. He did forget by birthday one year and made plans to meet a friend who was in town. I was ticked about that one and trust me... he will never forget again! Now his birthday? he does not want gifts anymore so I don't do that. We go to a nice dinner instead.
    I hope you had a nice day after all. Sorry you both don't see eye to eye on this topic.

    1. I was particularly emotional (and hormonal) this year, which led to my melt-down. We have actually done much better in previous years, with me often buying my own gift and Rich bringing me flowers and champagne on my birthday (or sometimes the day after, if he forgot lol). This year he was pretty stressed, and simply couldn't deal with one more item on his to-do list. I was more emotional and unbalanced than usual, which led to an unfortunate, explosive combination.
      Like I told Karen, he has given me some thoughtful gifts over the years, but he's the kinda guy who only buys something specific. He could never just go to the store and pick something out. We all have our strengths, and gift giving is definitely not his haha!
      We made up and it's all good again. With most of the stress finally over, we are slowly getting back to being ourselves again!

  5. Happy (belated) birthday! I only found your blog recently but I'm looking forward to catching up on it. There are so many connections for me to your story - not direct connections but nearly-there similarities that tickle my sense of the ridiculous a bit. Perhaps mostly because it was interesting to find all of those things as a result of googling something about dating an older man. :-) And now it turns out your birthday is the day after mine. I think we must be about the same year, too.
    Oh, and thanks for the reminder about Black Books. It has been a few years since I watched it and I've just laughed rather loudly more than a couple of times - it's nearly midnight though, my neighbours will be wondering what's going on. Heehee.

    1. Hi there, and welcome! I'm thrilled you reached out, we are almost birthday twins! I turned 37, just in case you were wondering ;-)
      It's amazing to find people that are similar to yourself, particularly when they live in different countries. I get such a kick out of it when I find someone I feel is a kindred spirit.
      I hope you will enjoy my blog, and feel free to ask me anything you might be curious about! I'm a pretty open book :-)
      Enjoy Black Books, it's such a funny show!


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