The Gift

I had two arguments with my ex-wife in 2012, in addition to the daily unpleasantries that we exchange as a couple of people who still live together long after the love has gone. The second of those fights was when she ruined my birthday celebration and as a rule, I try not to make the same mistakes twice. My mistake last year was inviting someone who does not like me to a celebration of my continued existence.

The problem is simple enough to solve. She should no longer share a table with me. The complicating twist is that I do want to celebrate my birthday with my son, who was conceived with my ex-wife back in the time before she confessed to only pretending to like me. We all still live together, and I did not want to put him into an uncomfortable position of making his mother angry by his joining me for a party without her.

My birthday dinner, which should have been a source of joy, was instead something that I was dreading because of the memories from last year. The easiest thing to do would be to simply give her another chance to ruin yet another one of my pleasures. A few nights before my birthday, she asked me what the dinner plan was just as if last year had never happened. I told her that the pain from her insult was still fresh in my mind, which should surprise no one because I am the kind of person that holds grudges forever. I told her that I did not think I could celebrate with her. The day before my birthday, I spoke to my son about it and told him that I preferred to eat just with him, but to keep peace in our house I would try and ignore the presence of someone who does not like me.

This is when my son gave me a much appreciated and unexpected birthday gift. He took it upon himself to talk to his mother and suggest to her that she sit this dinner out. He ignored my advice of not getting into the middle of the conflict, and he resolved it. I am baffled and surprised that my ex-wife was not any nastier to be around than she usually is, considering that she had been uninvited. I have no idea what he told her, but apparently he has a future as a diplomat. She wished me a happy birthday in the morning and was laughing with our son when I woke up later that night, after my birthday had been celebrated without her. The next day, it is back to our usual routine of living with someone that you wished was someone else.