It was 7:00 in the morning when Christina work up Monday morning. She lifted her head and stared at the alarm clock for a few seconds, still half asleep. “It’s my birthday,” she thought. “I’m finally 16.” Christina knew the drill by heart. Her mom would likely be in the kitchen making her favorite blueberry pancakes and her brother would wrapping some sort of last minute gift at the breakfast table.
Christina got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. She took a second to look at her reflection in the mirror. She didn’t like what she saw. She had several pimples on the side of her face and her nose seemed even bigger than usual. She had hoped that 16 would bring with it clearer skin and more confidence, but instead it just brought the same challenges she always dealt with. Christina sighed deeply and got into the shower.
Once Christina was dressed and ready for school, she took her backpack and walked into the kitchen. Her mom was sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee and her brother was eating a bowl of cereal. “Hey guys,” Christina said. Her mom looked up and smiled and her brother kept eating his cereal. “What’s going on?” Christina thought. “Did they forget?” After a few minutes of silence, Christina’s brother starting telling the two of them about a basketball game he was going to after class. The conversation went on for a few more minutes and then they were headed out the door. Before she knew it, Christina was being shuttled off to school without even a word about it being her birthday.
“They must have some sort of surprise for me this afternoon,” Christina thought. All day Christina wondered what her mom and brother would be planning for her. Her best friend wished her a happy birthday but everyone else seemed to have forgotten as well. “It doesn’t matter,” Christina thought. “There’ll be something really cool tonight.” At 4:00 Christina’s mom picked her up at school and drove her home. In the car, her mom mentioned that she’d had a terrible headache all day but nothing else. Christina stayed quiet. “This can’t be happening,” Christina thought.
Once they got home, Christina focused on her homework and waited for dinner to come when she knew there would be presents and some sort of sweet desert to celebrate. At 6:30 Christina’s mom poked her head in her room and asked her what kind of topping she wanted on her pizza. They were ordering in.
After dinner, it was clear. Christina’s family had forgotten her birthday. She was heartbroken. She felt invisible and stupid. Angry tears started to roll down her face as she screamed at her mom and told her that she had forgotten her own daughter’s birthday. Christina’s mom looked at her in surprise, because the truth was that she had. She had forgotten her own daughter’s birthday but that didn’t mean she didn’t love her or care about her.
Sometimes people forget things that are really important to us and sometimes people do things that are thoughtless or hurtful. At times like that, it’s helpful to remember that we are all human and we all have our flaws. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Share your feelings with the person who hurt you and express your needs. Don’t keep those feelings bottled up as they will cause even greater pain in the long run. Feel those emotions deeply, express your thoughts, and then forgive the person who caused you so much pain. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness and it does not excuse the actions of the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is something that you do for yourself so that you can heal your broken heart. It may not be easy, but if you can learn to forgive those who have wronged you, the life you lead will become lighter and the burden you carry will eventually disappear.
Copyright © 2013 by Maggie Steele