Today is my dad’s birthday. Growing up, his birthday was always a day my sister and I dreaded because it seemed like he was extra nasty on “his day”. During the two years my father was sober, I actually enjoyed celebrating his birthday- we would BBQ or go out to brunch and he was pleasant and grateful for whatever gifts we gave him.
About 8 months ago, I found my dad the most perfect birthday card. My family has a joke about chihuahuas and I found a card in the shape of that dog. Even though it was so many months before his birthday, I bought the card anyway and saved it until now. (Side note: I LOVE cards and have several card boxes full of cards for any occasion!!)
Now that my father is drinking again, I don’t even want to give the card to him. I know that sounds very silly and petty, but it is not really about the card at all. It is about the fact that for the past couple of years I enjoyed having a relationship with my father and throughout that time, I enjoyed family holidays again and looked forward to other occasions to celebrate. I guess when I look back on myself buying that card eight months ago, I feel dumb for how naive I was. His sobriety (following a stroke) was so abrupt and so absolute (pun intended) that I just blindly believed it was going to last. I took that card out of the box today and just felt sad. The dad that I bought that card for is gone…once again replaced by the alcoholic I am all too familiar with. And that’s really nothing to celebrate.