Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Daughter's Birthday Day

Lots of tears today — just my own. Why does God allow others to be cruel to my special daughter? She doesn’t deserve this. She deserves a loving and attentive father. She deserves a kind and protective brother. She deserves to have friends to spend time with. She thinks she has friends, but the girls she grew up in church with don’t call her, they don’t text her, they don’t invite her to do things with them. They are so many friends those girls can choose from who are “normal.” As for me, it’s hard to think of someone to invite over, since about all of her “friends” have moved on to college and aren’t available or are busy. I’m truly my daughter’s only real friend, and that’s not how this is supposed to work. I’m not supposed to be my daughter’s whole world, but when no one else steps up, what else can I do? We go to movies, and she says it was the best day ever. We buy groceries, and she says she’s having a great day with me. She is so easily pleased. She drives, has a full-time job, and has a bubbly personality. She just acts young for her age at times, maybe more so at home than in public. I wish others could see the many positives and want to spend time with her.

But seriously, here on her 20th birthday, it’s after 11pm, and her brother never showed up this weekend after leaving home Friday night (promising to be back by 1:30am). Jasmine drove off looking for him this morning (Sunday), first at his friend James’ house and then at James’ job, and she was ready to drive to her brother’s cheating girlfriend’s house next when I told her to come home. But that’s how important it was to her that he be here; plus, he’d told us many times how important it was TO HIM to be here for her birthday. Because he has missed it for the past few years. (He’s just 9 months older than her; they are related by adoption only.) 

We didn’t go to church, and we left later than planned to go to Ruby Tuesday for Jasmine’s free birthday burger plate. After that, we went to our downtown area for a birthday photo shoot. Got back home at about 2:15, and Jasmine asked to open a present, so I let her open the Wii I got with Swagbucks. She was so excited!  Then she got cleaned up and headed off to her little brother’s birthday party. (My kids have a half-sibling who was born on my daughter’s 15th birthday.) She went without her adult brother. He didn't even show up for that. 

Jasmine will never attend another party for her baby brother. Her dad and family did not sing to her Friday night when they met her at a chinese buffet, and she told him so today. Well, all she got was a “sorry, honeybun.” No song for her on her actual birthday. Her baby brother got a boatload of big presents—including a big drum set—and did I mention he's just five??? And a cake with candles that his father lit. Heck, he probably made the cake! He fed the baby at the restaurant Friday night even though his current wife was there. He lavishes his new kids with attention. Meanwhile, the ones he walked away from when they were 6 & 7 continue to suffer. (There was also a four-year absence where he made no contact or attempt to pay child support...) Anyway, while at the little brother’s party (on HER birthday too), an uncle gave Jasmine a $20 bill. No card. (That was probably spur of the moment and not a planned gift.) No other family gifts were forthcoming. Her father had given her a card with $50 in it at the restaurant.

Oh yeah, she told her dad that it hurt her feelings that he wouldn’t come see her bedroom that had been prettied up in June. Again, he said sorry, honeybun, and when he finishes fixing up his old house that he’s trying to sell and the new house that he’s remodeling, then he will come see her room. Same old story she’s been hearing since he came back into her life at age 14. When he is not busy with his job, his house, his church, or his new family, then he will have time for her. That line has gotten really old, and she is not impressed. She feels unloved.  And I can’t fix it.

So, she came home this evening, repeated that she would never go to another party for baby brother, asked if I’d heard from her older brother, and then opened her two gift bags: one held a tub of cotton candy and a small assortment of candy from the general store (a birthday tradition), while the other held ruby slipper slippersox, sticky notes with her name on them, and a peace necklace and rubber "I love you" pink ring. The Wii and Slippersox were paid for with gift cards earned through Swagbucks. The other stuff was just little stuff that I picked up around town that I knew she’d enjoy.

Anyway, after that, she jumped on the mini trampoline and then went to bed. 

So I’ve set here and cried again. My heart is broken for my daughter with no loving family men in her life. I don’t want to deal with my son any more. I don’t know what to do. All I can think of is telling him to get out of my life for good. 

He owes Jasmine $15. He keeps bumming fives behind my back, which makes me furious. He bummed $5 to give as a birthday gift to one of his friends earlier this week! He had Jasmine drive him to another person’s birthday party! He uses his sister and then puts on this protective brother facade, but in the end, he is not there for her. 

I wanted to go post on his FB page that he’d better be dead because that’s the only acceptable reason not to come celebrate his sister’s birthday and play the Wii with her (which he knew about and wanted to play). But of course if I did that, everyone would think bad thoughts about me. And there’s a slight chance that he could be dead and I just don’t know it yet. Or in jail. So I control myself.
* * *

Update, April 3, 2013: So, in the end, the boy did not come home. We heard from him about two weeks later, when the money he managed to acquire ran out. I told him I had nothing to say to him and hung up on him. It may have been a week later that an old acquaintance of mine contacted me to let me know he was staying with them. He ended up coming over two months after Jasmine’s birthday to bring some small belated gifts. She forgave him quickly. She always does. 

As for her father, she asked him if she could have an actual gift for Christmas. So, in addition to the annual Christmas card with $50 in it, he handed her an unwrapped box of peppermint candy. She has hated peppermint her entire life. Not even her toothpaste or mouthwash can be mint flavored! I couldn’t believe it when she told me.  I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him, yelling, “What is WRONG with you?” But, I never yell. I am always gracious. I tell him quietly over the phone that she doesn’t like peppermint. I wish he’d asked me for suggestions. I wish he’d take her shopping and ask what she likes. I wish he showed an interest in her likes and dislikes. I wish he understood what she had asked for—to be treated as he treats his birth children, to be celebrated, to receive her father’s love inside a big, beautifully-wrapped package.

She is a sweetheart, and she deserves to be loved for who she is.

Featured Post

An Editor Answers the Burning Question on the Reader's Mind

You’ve asked yourself (and others) this question. Don’t deny it; I know you have! (In my pre-editor days, I asked the same question!) Whil...