Yesterday was a friend's birthday and she noted: "Don't think me ungrateful, but when people close to you don't even acknowledge your birthday, you know where you stand in their lives. My birthday was awesome even though there were a few people whom I really care about that didn't even mention it. It's hard not to feel hurt. I sometimes expect others to acknowledge me the way I do them. Birthdays are very important to me, and I try to acknowledge others' birthdays in a special way."
My own father hasn't acknowledged my birthday for four years. But I forgive him. Why? Three reasons:
1. He has a track record of putting his own interests above me.
2. He hasn't been the same person since my mother died.
3. He's getting elderly and his memory isn't all there any more.
My parents weren't great parents, although they did what they believed was their best. When I was young I was frequently dropped off at another relative's house while they went on vacations. On my sixteenth birthday they went out on their sailboat for the day, leaving me to plan my own celebration. What kind of parents do that?
I phone and Email my father on a regular basis, especially on his birthday and on holidays. He doesn't Email me as much as he used to, and the only times he phones me are if he needs something or if it's bad news. Is it too much for me to ask that he calls or comes to visit his granddaughter once in a while?
I don't forget him but it still hurts to be forgotten.