It’s The Thoughtlessness That Counts


Winter birthdays stink; my husband and I can both attest to that. His birthday, a few days before Christmas, is consistently lost in the storm of holiday preparations.

On his last birthday, my aging husband worked all day, came home to a house in chaos, a stressed out wife and absolutely no birthday regalia. None. Granted I had bought him a birthday present weeks before — a sweater {which he loved}, a shirt {which he returned} and jeans {which he claimed were too small because of the style, not the size}.

He ended up making his own dinner and dishing out his birthday cake. Not even a real b-day cake, but a Lemon Too Tall cake, my favourite, served still in the box. What? I opened one side.

“Lovely presentation.” he said. I went upstairs to work and he put the kids to bed.  Poor guy didn’t even get any birthday bumps. “It’s the thoughtlessness that counts!” he joked.

His only consolation was that at least HIS birthday didn’t fall on the most depressing day of the year. That would be MY birthday. Having a birthday mid January is kind of a joke. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s depressing.

Two years ago I attempted to organize a GNO for my 40th. However, after a nasty seizure, Avery ended up in hospital.

Last year, somebody was sick. I can’t remember if it was me, or one of the kids. Or both. The winters tend to mush together like sleet on a windshield.

This year my birthday found me, not on the dance floor couging it up like a woman on fire, but on fire, from fever, curled up on the couch in the fetal position, begging for mercy at the hands of some random flu virus.

The strange thing is, for weeks I’ve been taking better care of myself — eating well, no alcohol AT ALL {it’s like the prohibition over here} going to bed early, and exercising. So what gives? Maybe all this live clean stuff is crap? Fine. I know it’s not, but maybe a glass of shiraz here and there actually KILLS viruses? Just a theory…

My husband knew I was counting the minutes until he got home from work so I could go to bed. Being ill is one thing, but being ill at home with an energetic child to look after, is another. I’m pretty sure it could be used a method of torture during war time.

Oh his way home, my thoughtful spouse picked up birthday treats. HE is thoughtful like that. I….am not.

He brought home chicken pot pie. Kind of an odd spin on traditional birthday cake, but I went with it. I was literally starving. This virus completely zapped me of an appetite for three days. Ironically, I’ve been reading The Hunger Games during my convalescence. He knew I needed to eat something and also knew comfort food was what I needed. He also picked up a bag of Ruffles potato chips — my favourite food item on the planet. It was a struggle, but I managed to eat a few.

Then, he brought out a cake — with one candle {he claims it was symbolic of there only being ONE Lisa, but I know it was because he couldn’t find where I keep the birthday candles. Nice improv though}.

The kids sang Happy Birthday and rounded out the celebration with a puppet show performed in my honour.

So yeah, birthdays in the winter aren’t the most exciting, but when you’re sick, and useless and hideous, and you’re family celebrates you anyway and showers you with thoughtfulness and love, a blah birthday can end up being one of the most memorable ones ever.

Here’s an excerpt from the big birthday puppet show. There’s no sound. You’re welcome.


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