What should you not do to celebrate your husband’s birthday? What should you avoid?
I’m exploring this topic today because my husband has another birthday coming tomorrow. After 48 years of marriage, we have celebrated many birthdays.
Most of the birthdays have been happy celebrations with good feelings associated with wishes for many years of health and happiness.
Sometimes the celebrations have been less than successful.
Today I’m writing about a couple of unsuccessful celebrations, in earlier years of our marriage, that taught me lessons. I’m writing about these birthdays so others might avoid these mistakes or, get a chuckle from reading about my blunders.
The Most Embarrassing Birthday
The most embarrassing birthday happened just one month after our marriage. Even though this happened long ago, I remember it every year.
I got the wrong date for his birthday.
We were just back from our honeymoon and were settling into our first apartment. I had it in my head that he was born on October 10 rather than October 3. On the 10th, I baked a cake and cooked a special dinner. I decorated the apartment.
When he arrived home from work, he looked around and then asked who was having a birthday.
Crestfallen, after all the work and preparation, I reminded him that it was his birthday. He burst out laughing and told me that his birthday had taken place a week before. I burst into tears.
I was mortified. How could I make such a mistake? Despite my shame, he hugged me and tactfully reminded me that the correct date was on our marriage certificate.
Regardless of the confusion about the date, we enjoyed the dinner and the evening despite the confusion over the date.
A Sad Surprise Party
A few years later, I decided to hold a surprise dinner party to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday.
By this time I had the correct date cemented in my head.
As he was teaching a course at a university out-of-town, he usually arrived home between 7 and 7:30 pm. I invited a few close friends who were in the dining room waiting when he arrived. He was blown away when everyone shouted “Happy Birthday”.
We had dinner, did the celebratory candles on the cake, and drank toasts to good health and many more birthdays. But he did not seem to enjoy the party. I could tell that he was doing his best at ‘fake’ social behaviour.
After our guests left, we talked as we cleaned up. During the conversation I realized that he was tired after teaching and a long commute. Moreover, turning 40 signalled reaching middle age. He dreaded this as, for him, it signalled a type of ending.
When he arrived home, he was in no mood for entertaining friends. What he expected was a quiet dinner with an opportunity to unwind afterward.
These birthdays taught valuable lessons about how to avoid disappointing birthday celebrations. I try to remember them every year as his birthday approaches.
Get the date right. There’s nothing else to say about this unless you forget the date entirely which means a big mea culpa.
Surprise celebrations aren’t always well-received. My husband is a low-key kind of guy who puts emphasis on being with the people he loves. He likes celebrations but enjoys them most when he has time to prepare. Being the centre of attention in a large group makes him uncomfortable.
Anticipate how the person will react. Although I had great fun planning a surprise party, I should have put more thought into how my husband might feel when, exhausted from teaching and travel, he walked into a room full of people to celebrate something that caused him apprehension.