Yesterday, my dad turned 75. It’s quite a feat in our family that any male would live that long given that every man who came before him dropped dead at the age of 64. In my dad’s case, he had three things on his side: a job that required physical labor (meaning, he didn’t have a sedentary lifestyle), a higher awareness of health and nutrition than his dad and older brother, and double bypass surgery in 2014.
You’d think that he would do more with all this “extra” time he has, but I’m not really sure he’s doing more of anything or enjoying life at all. One of my biggest gripes about him growing up was that he always promised he would do things and would almost never follow through. When he actually did follow through on anything, it was because my mom yelled at him enough or my mom got angry and said she would pay for it (which is weird when you think about it because since they are married, all their funds are the same….). The house my parents live in is like a testament to a lot of broken promises: a peeling backside, a backyard in total disarray and covered in weeds; a basement that likely is covered in mold and has too much clutter; junk on top of junk everywhere. The room leading out to the yard looks as though a homeless person lives there; there are no proper window blinds or shades; my dad covered the windows in black tarp, which he glamorously taped up. Every time I think of that house, the place where Ed and I grew up, I just feel sadness and disgust.
I used to call to say happy birthday, but I decided he didn’t appreciate the effort, so I stopped. He never called on my birthday, and some years he never even acknowledged my birthday, so why should I give him a live call? I never enjoyed it; I did it out of obligation. I never felt like my parents appreciate any kind gesture I’ve done for them; if anything, they’ve insulted my gestures. But I still continue to do something.
So this year, I ordered some cupcakes to have delivered to the house. They were delivered yesterday, but apparently one of the cupcakes flipped over. All the cupcakes had “Happy birthday” written on the top. To let me know that he received my gift, my dad texted me a photo of the one disheveled cupcake and wrote: “One of the cupcakes was flipped on its side, rendering the message unreadable!” No “thank you.” No, “thanks for remembering my birthday.” No sentiment of gratitude. Just a complaint. That’s my parents’ typical style of communication. While in the background, I am sure they are both complaining about the fact they know I spent a whopping $39 on a measly four cupcakes to be delivered because there wasn’t an option for me to hide/conceal the receipt (what, Uber Eats delivery fees, taxes, and tips add up!).