Posted by Caren Crane May 19 2012, 12:54 am in birthdays, Caren Crane, crisis management, forgetful husbands, Holiday Birthdays, husbands, Mother's Day, no surprises
I’ve never been one to thrill to the unexpected. I don’t enjoy surprises, unless it’s the unanticipated joy of coming to a clean house, say, or a bed that is actually made up for once. These rare, unexpected treats are sources of unanticipated contentment. The same does not hold true for surprise presents.
In general, I don’t like surprise presents. Now, I might like an unanticipated gift of a large sum of money, but no one has offered that as yet. Same goes for parties. I like to at least have a vague notion of what’s coming up, even if the details are sketchy. I’m okay with free-forming things, as long as I know the basic outline. I want to know how to dress, what sort of weather to anticipate, if I need to steel myself for exposure to a crowd. You know, the basics.
My husband and I began dating just about 25 years ago, spring of 1988. We have been married almost 20 years and have raised three children. By this time, I have an expectation that he must know a little about me. At least as much as everyone here: Caren doesn’t like surprises. Any of my friends could tell you that. My children are well-acquainted with my displeasure at the unexpected (like, at 9:30 pm, “Oops, I’m supposed to take a dozen muffins in for Teacher Appreciation Day tomorrow. I have to do it, too, because it counts for National Honor Society service hours.”).
The trouble is, I’m pretty good in a crisis. So when my people drop balls (or I do), I am able to whip up late-night baked goods. I can edit an essay, book report or scholarship application lickety-split. Forms and cash for field trips, last-minute chaperoning, rides to or from activities, forgotten birthday/graduation/Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/Christmas gifts, pictures for school or church ceremonies, an emergency corsage, left-behind homework, dinner with friends, dinner for friends? All get done, albeit not always with good grace. Often, there is much gritting of teeth, some muttered imprecations and always, invariably, oaths sworn that I will never, ever do it (whatever the eleventh-hour task is) again.
But I do. So, whose problem is it that I am expected to catch all the balls my juggling family drops? Mine, of course. All mine. Perhaps if I let the balls drop, let the husband and kids suffer the natural consequences of forgetting, maybe they would learn. On the other hand, we would probably all suffer when the taxes weren’t filed, the college and scholarship applications weren’t completed (much less turned in), the financial aid forms were neglected, the cat was unfed (not to mention the kids), the friends were stood up, the concerts missed, the tasks uncompleted and the kids had to sit with the few left-behind children at school while everyone else went on the field trip. It’s seems to be a wife’s and mother’s conundrum, though there are probably also be excellent sisters, grandmothers and aunts doing these things as well.
I was reminded of this on Mother’s Day (which was also my birthday). I was out of town for the weekend visiting my own mother and grandmother (and sisters and brother and nieces and nephew). When I returned Sunday night, I asked my youngest (who stayed behind to attend a second prom) whether they had turned in the pictures and scholarship information at church. Because she and her dad (who stayed behind because he had forgotten it was my birthday and Mother’s Day and had committed to work at a community garden) had both been at church that day. The information was due to the church office by 9 am Monday. No, of course they had not. Matter of fact, she hadn’t even started on it. Never mind that the child had 6 weeks to get it together or that the church admin and I had each e-mailed her at least 4 times the previous week. I pulled the pictures together, she stayed up late working on the paper work and we cobbled it together. Monday morning found me riding to the rescue once again, heading in to work late to turn the bits and pieces in at the church, then sending an e-mail to make sure the staff knew it was there.
My husband (who did NOT get me the one thing I asked for on my birthday/Mother’s Day, or anything else for that matter) commented that I was really cranky Monday morning and he had no idea why I couldn’t just be happy. I told him if he was planning anything for my birthday that week (which he had hinted at the night before), he needed to let me know because I Don’t Like Surprises. He claimed that I has asked to be surprised. I somehow managed not to scream, throw anything or harm anyone and, happily, he came through with a nifty certificate for four facials (woot!). The bottom line is, I really need to be good at something besides crisis management, if only to convince my family that I am not, despite all evidence to the contrary, a Big Fan of Surprises!
How about you? Are you the designated crisis manager for your family? If so, have you broken everyone of the habit of expecting you to jump in and fix everything? If not, who does handle the crises around you? And do you like surprise parties or presents? I’ll be expecting to hear from you and won’t be surprised at all!
Posted by Jo Robertson Dec 18 2010, 5:01 am in Holiday Birthdays, Jo Robertson
by Jo Robertson
Someone has a birthday on a holiday or a holiday season — Christmas, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day.
Or an oddity of a birthday, like me, who was born on February 29 and only has a “real” birthday every four years.
I’ll bet everyone has a family member or knows someone in such a position. Our own Aunty Cindy’s birthday is today!
For the birthday guy or gal it totally sucks. Or so my oldest daughter, who was born on December 27, tells me. In all of the hullabaloo of holidays, the birthday babe or dude is often forgotten.
Their presents come wrapped in holiday paper, so the sense of “birthday” is lost.
Or worse, they’re given a single gift which is “supposed” to cover both Christmas and their birthday! How does that make the birthday “special”?
If it’s a Christmas birthday, you might end up with the name Noel, Joy, or Holly, which may or may not be fine with you.
So, what do you do?
I have a friend who “changed” her birthday. She literally celebrates a December birthday in June. She claims it was very poor planning on her parents’ part.
A solution my daughter came up with for a milestone birthday was to throw a party for herself. Since she was a teen during the eighties, the theme was The Eighties, and guests dressed up in costumes, they had a dessert buffet, a DJ, and even an intermission dance and song performance.
Follow the YouTube link below to check out some of the highlights of the event.
My daughters and I always celebrate birthdays with a HHFD (Happy, Happy Fun Day). We go out to dinner, catch a movie, spend some time together. This year we’re adding an “Ornaments and Decorations Giveaway.”
I’m passing on many of my holiday items to the girls (including the daughters-in-law). We sit in a circle, place the items out for all to see, and take turns choosing items until they’re all gone. I think it’ll be great fun!
So what about you? Do you or anyone you know have a holiday birthday? How do you make the event special? And if you are one of the rare persons who doesn’t know a Holiday Birthday person, how about sharing a favorite recipe. Here’s one I just got from my friend Judy:
1 package Oreo cookies (use cookie including the cream center)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese (softened)
White chocolate bark
1. Finely crush package of Oreo cookies and stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.
2. Roll the mixture into 1” balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Refrigerate or freeze for a few minutes until balls set up.
3. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper cookie sheet to dry. Sprinkle with holiday sparkles.
4. Makes about 36 truffles.
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