For the past few years, I have forgotten ex-husband’s birthday. A few days later, I’d realize that I’d forgotten and feel so happy that the day hadn’t mattered enough to remember it, thinking that I’d grown so much emotionally and had healed. Now I’m not so sure that’s what it was.
When ex-husband moved out of state and basically dropped out of the kids’ lives several years ago, I felt no guilt when I forgot his birthday. I was almost gleeful about forgetting (once I realized it, of course). He had forgotten the kids’ birthdays and promised wonderful Christmas gifts year after year that mysteriously never arrived. Maybe in the smallest, darkest parts of my mind, I chose to forget because of how I felt he’d abandoned the kids.
Well, this year I remembered.
I remembered the day before and reminded the kids. He’s in school (military) and cannot take phone calls during the week, so the kids sent him a text message.
The funny thing is, I don’t feel weird about remembering. I used to feel resentful or angry or odd when I did remember that date during those first few years after the divorce. Remembering felt like an invasion in my mind. a violation of the life I was building for me and the kids. At the same time, I felt it was right for me to help the kids commemorate that day with/for him.
This year, I don’t feel those conflicting emotions. It felt like I was reminding the kids that it was a distant relative’s birthday. I hoped that he was having a happy day but had no big stirrings of resentment or ill feelings.
I reminded the kids and that was it. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be with me, now that I’m almost 7 years past the divorce. It feels good.