02.12.2022 | 22:15 CST

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Happy fuckin' birthday to me.

I knew my mother was going to turn today, my birthday, into something about her and sure as shit, that's exactly what happened. Instead of just listening when I repeatedly asked for no gifts and no celebration, she made this big fucking ordeal out of coordinating with my kids and my brother to do a surprise party. The exact opposite of what I asked for and truly wanted. Not only that, she acted so inconvenienced when she found I took the day off from work, as it interfered with her plans for the surprise party. Like, what the fuck.

I really wish my brother would've sacked up and said "no, that's not what he wants" when our mother started scheming on this shit. I'm not too terribly angry with him, our mother is a force to reckon with and navigate and deal with in ways that cannot be truly explained or illustrated - you just have to see it for yourself. I know a lot of people feel this way about their parents, or other people in their lives, but my mother truly is a special breed. It's not entirely her fault, our extended family - her parents and siblings - are a fucking trainwreck of dysfuntion. But she's been around long enough to have done something about it. She's not happy and clearly hasn't been for most of her life. Anything is better than nothing, though. Therapy, prescribed medication, some sort of self medication, I don't know... anything other than nothing and anything other than making life a living hell for everyone around her whenever the mood hits her. But, yeah, not too terribly upset with my brother, but come on, advocate for your only sibling a little? I don't know. I'm so frustrated and angry and upset I am having a hard time forming full coherent thoughts, but I know if I don't get it out it's just going to eat at me even more than it already is.

I should've known when I was beckoned upstairs from the basement that something was up, but I thought maybe there was just an issue that effected the whole house dynamic or something. But, nope. I go upstairs and there's my oldest sitting on the couch, my brother sitting across the living room from her, my youngest following me up the stairs, and my mom lighting candles on cake and setting out ice cream and gifts and shit. I walked in further and said "I appreciate the sentiment but I asked that we don't do any of this". Rather than try to smooth it over or make it appealing to take part in, my mother snaps back with "Fine! Go back downstairs then!" and walks away. Rather then fly off the handle as I wanted in that instant, I stepped outside for a cigarette. I came back in and walked into the living room, both of my kids and my brother sitting there like deer caught in the headlights - my mother sitting there too, but eating cake and ice cream. I reiterated that I was grateful for the sentiment but really did not want any sort of celebration or gifts. My mother threw her hands up in the air like a 4 year old. I said "Don't throw your hands up at me, this isn't gonna be on me, I asked repeatedly that no one do gifts or any sort of celebration". She got up and walked into her room. I went downstairs, telling my kids and my brother that they were welcome to come join me if they wanted, since the gang was all here. Ten minutes pass and my oldest comes knocking asking if she can join me, I tell her of course. Then my youngest follows her. My mother had apparently said something to the effect of "I'm sorry you had to see that, it's too bad we gotta love him". The fuck?

It was nice to see my oldest, she's been moved out for a year and a half now and I don't get to see enough of her. Come to find out she doesn't come over much because this is the type of shit that happens more often than not with family gatherings. However my mom feels dictates the mood - and invariably my mother dislikes holidays and celebrations and makes sure no one else gets to enjoy them, either. But my kids and I had a good vent session about my mother, their grandmother, and some laughs and hang time with the pets. That part was nice.

It's been two hours and no attempt to patch things up, apologize, tell me I'm out of line (which I am not) or anything. Pretty typical. Either gonna wake up tomorrow and everyone is gonna act like nothing happened or it's gonna be incredibly uncomfortable sharing space for the long term. Either way, it's absolute bullshit and could've been avoided entirely.

Overall, I am doing a pretty good job to not internalize this or take any of the blame for it. I made a very simple and totally reasonable request. When that request was totally disregarded, for whatever ill conceived intention, I was reasonable and diplomatic about my protesting the whole thing. I didn't raise my voice, I didn't throw my hands in the air, I didn't storm out of the room, I didn't deflect the blame onto someone else. This is not my doing and I do not need to feel guilty in any way. I do not need to feel guilty in any way. I do not need to fee guilty in any way.