I don’t normally post on Thursdays but in Honour of my 28th Birthday Today I have decided to share a Birthday Story for you, my dear readers. Please read and enjoy.
So this one time my Dad totally forgot about me on my birthday. I guess he forgot about my sister too, but seeing as how it was my birthday I feel like I’m the daughter more entitled to indignation.
Yup, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that forgetting about one’s daugher on her birthday doesn’t sound like a very nice thing to do. And you know what? It wasn’t!
I was 13 years old and I had been forced to go to a Sea Cadet function on my birthday where we marched for hours and did parade drills in the chilly April morning. It was hell and I was miserable.
(I loathed every second I was in sea cadets. I had joined because my sister was in it and because my parent’s thought it would give me more self-confidence and make me less of an awkward duckling, but alas it definitely did not work. If anything it made me more terrified of social interactions.)
The entire ordeal lasted about four hours which when you are 13 is basically forever and ever and ever. When it finally ended at 1pm my sister and I milled around the parking lot with our friends waiting for my Dad to pick us up. (Ok, fine … we milled around the parking lot with my sister’s friends. I did not have any friends. Happy now?)
Slowly Julia’s friends left us, their parents arriving on time or slightly after, rushing up and apologizing for being late. As the time dragged on Julia and I got more and more uncomfortable. Two of the officers were forced to wait along with us unable to leave minors unaccompanied in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere. Their annoyance grew thick as the minutes ticked by.
Finally all of the other kids were picked up and we were left just the two of us and the officers. It was the age before cell phones were commonplace and we had no way of contacting our Dad. We couldn’t accept a ride from the officers as Dad knew he was supposed to pick us up and he would have panicked if he had arrived there to find us gone. The four of us stood in our two groups of two with embarrassment and frustration filling the air and making things uncomfortable.
I still remember it so well.
Finally it was 10 after 2pm and a familiar sight approached us. My Dad’s car, Jaguar Racing Green, slowed down beside us, my Dad smiling without a care in the world and completely oblivious to how irritated we both were.
He parked and got out of the car, looking around at the empty parking lot, his brow furrowing as he realized something was off. Dad was usually one of the first people to arrive and it was odd to him that no other kids remained. I think too that the expression on the officer’s faces was also quite telling.
“You’re late!” my sister and I both accused him.
He looked down at his watch.
“Only 10 minutes” he replied defensively.
“Actually you’re an hour late” one of the officers bit off then checked himself and smiled awkwardly in an attempt to be polite. Both officers said goodbye and hurried to their own cars, ready to finally leave.
Julia and I stared at Dad, glaring with all the attitude available to teenage girls (which is a lot of attitude!).
Dad looked at his watch again. “I thought I was supposed to pick you up at 1?” he said.
“You were!” I stamped my foot melodramatically. “It’s after 2! And it’s my birthday!” I added sullenly, Julia reached her arm around me in a gesture of comfort and solidarity.
We all piled into the car and after a moment Dad let out an exclamation, cluing into the problem. It was daylight savings time and he had forgotten to change his watch ahead an hour.
He explained it to us thinking the matter settled but neither Julia nor I cared. Both of us were cold and pissed off and even though his explanation was totally reasonable to us it seemed a bit halfhearted. He was a Father, after all. Don’t Dad’s just know instinctively to change their watches? Can’t they sense when their children are in trouble? (Or at least mildly perturbed?)
It’s been 15 years (Gosh, has it really been that long?) and I still haven’t forgotten. The scars of childhood run deep and being forgotten on my own birthday is one I still carry with me.
Ok. Fine. Dad, I acknowledge that you didn’t really forget about me since you thought you were on time, but that doesn’t change anything. And yes, I will definitely still be bringing it up, even when it’s been 25 years.
Whatever, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.