Jesse, my son and I were sitting out on my deck with my friend, Laura. We were enjoying the day.
“I’m going to go back to Minneapolis,” I head Jesse say to Laura.
“What? When did you decide this?” I interrupted.
“When will you be leaving?” I asked.
I figured out what date that was. “So you won’t be here for my birthday.”
I just sat there, not moving. Something changed. Instead of being happy to be with Jesse I was now annoyed. “What a loser,” I thought instead of being proud. Suddenly he was just very wrong.
“When did you decide this? Aunt Sherry probably already knows. How come you tell Aunt Sherry everything? How come I have to find out everything from her? Why don’t you tell me anything? Why don’t you want to talk to me? Why do you have long conversations with her and with me you are distracted and don’t have time?” I kept hammering him with questions.
“You’re sounding a little like a victim,” my friend, Laura interrupted. “I thought you gave that up at the seminar the other night.”
“Yes,” Jesse agreed. “You do.”
“Fuck you both,” I wanted to say. But I could see they were right. I was presenting evidence for why he treated my sister better than me. I WAS being a victim.
“Wow,” I said instead. I looked to see what triggered it this time. I stared at the waves.
“It’s disappointment again. It’s the same thing as yesterday. Wow, that’s amazing. I became a victim instead of recognizing I was disappointed.”
I sat with the disappointment for a moment. “I guess I was really looking forward to having you here on my birthday. Haley won’t be here and now you won’t either.” I started crying. “I just wanted it to be a special day since it’s such a big one. I wanted to have my kids with me.” The tears were coming down now. I have a thing about my birthday. Another victim thing. “I can never have what I want – especially on my birthday.”
I got up to get the tissues.
“I’ll be here,” Laura said. “You’ll have me. Give me the dates and I’ll put them in my calendar.”
“Thanks,” I said.
“And you never know, maybe I’ll fly back to see you,” Jesse said.
I doubt it, I thought. You won’t. Oops. I was already back to victim. I kept wanting to pick a fight and be right. This was very interesting to notice.
I can plan and invite and tell people what I want. I can have the day be really special.
Or, I can do what I usually do. Casually mention it to people with no details, no follow up, and then be right about how people don’t show up. And be upset the whole day. That’s what’s predictable.
It’s kind of fascinating. And good to see.
Will I be empowered by victim or BE the victim.
I think I’ll get planning. And design my birthday exactly how I’ve always wanted it to be.
And create having a GREAT BIRTHDAY!!!!!