Sometimes I get super excited like a kid getting ready for a visit from Santa. When I get to play Santa with special gifts for someone I love it takes it to a whole other level. I will literally stop people on the street to tell them what awesome treat I have in store for so-and-so. I seriously feel like I am bursting at the seams with excitement and anticipation. It is a spectacular feeling. There’s an innocence and excitement to it that fill me with a childlike wonder and joy.
A couple of years ago my husband had a milestone birthday. I was trying to find ways to celebrate him in a way that he would enjoy. He is hesitant to have people over because he gets stuck in perfectionism, then the social stall kicks in and the end result is we rarely have adults over. So I knew a big birthday bash with all of his friends would not work. So I thought about it and decided to have two smaller celebrations. One with childhood friends and one with a newer crowd.
The childhood friends get together was a surprise. I told him we were having a birthday dinner for another family member and boom 4 of his closest childhood friends and their families were there. The party took place 6 weeks before his actual birthday so he did not expect it at all. I thought the night went well. The food was good, the company was great and the location was central. He was concerned that I coerced people into an inconvenient evening out.
Well I didn’t stop there. I wanted to find a way to celebrate with his newer friends that live near us. Came up with an idea and ran it by one of the guys. He reached out to the rest of the group and a plan was hatched. Meet at Jay’s house for a “BBQ”. My husband was suspicious but I suspect he thought it would just be a backyard celebration and not much more.
When we arrived at Jay’s for the “BBQ” the first thing he noticed was how well dressed the other guests were…not BBQ attire. I convinced him to wear jeans and a collared shirt so he looked alright just not as dressed as the rest. He immediately spilled wine on his shirt so we were not off to a great start. I suspect he was nervous and not really sure of what was going to happen.
About 40 minutes after we arrived Jay called everyone outside to look at a car. It was actually a sleek party bus that we rented to drive us around so people could relax and not worry about driving. He was definitely surprised by that. Once we got on the bus there was the obligatory obnoxious over-the-hill paraphernalia. We took the bus to Atlantic City where we had dinner and took in a comedy show.
My husband hated it. He told me as much when we were finally on our own driving home that night. He wasn’t mean or cold he just let me know he didn’t like it. That was a crushing moment for me. The entire point of the evening was to celebrate him and I was so disappointed that he didn’t enjoy it. I wanted to lash out and defend myself but I couldn’t. The entire point of the evening was to celebrate him, he had every right to not like it. I just apologized, looked out the car window and forced myself to cry quietly in a desperate attempt to not have the evening spiral any lower.
It’s been a couple of years and I still cringe at the memory. I guess these moments are an inevitable part of any long term relationship. Those moments when you get caught up in your own emotions and you somehow miss the goal so completely that you are afraid to take another shot. Sometimes you just aren’t on the same page. I have a milestone birthday this year and I think I’ll plan my own party. Seems safer that way.