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Jewish World Review
Feb. 21, 2013/ 11 Adar, 5773
Anyone can be forgiven, but it doesn't hurt to let them sweat
Some people get all pushed out of shape if you happen to forget their birthday.
I am not one of those people.
For years I have told my family and closest friends that there is absolutely no reason to make a big deal of my birthday.
Come to think of it, that may be the only thing I have ever told them that they actually seemed to hear.
"Please don't make a fuss over my birthday," I tell them, "even though it does only happen once a year and -- I'm just saying -- could always be my last. You don't need to give me presents or parties or even a card ... unless you really want to."
Most of them really want to, bless their hearts. I'm pretty sure. Unless they forget.
Far be it from me to judge others for being forgetful.
It happens to all of us. To some, yes, more than to most, and we all know who we are. Unless we forget that, too.
Forgetting isn't something you do on purpose. Usually.
Like, when you invite people over for dinner and you forget that you invited them? And they show up at the door and you're wearing your husband's slippers and your old nightgown that the dog chewed to shreds and you've got a fresh batch of Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-Up dripping from your head, down your neck and onto the floor?
Don't even try to tell me you've never done anything like that.
Everybody forgets something once in a while -- even the birthday of somebody you hold dear. It doesn't mean you don't hold them every bit as dear. It just means you forgot.
Forgetting a birthday is an accident, like forgetting you invited those people to dinner. Say you're sorry and move on. Send out for a pizza.
Actually, I'm always amazed at how many people remember my birthday. And not just because I remind them about it or happen to mention it in a column.
My husband, my children, most of my friends (even the ones whose birthdays I forget) all remembered it. This year.
A gracious many of you, too, sent cards or emailed wishes. Imagine that. Thank you.
My brother Joe called, as he always does, to sing "Happy Birthday" off-key. But instead of calling at his usual 5 a.m., he waited until evening. I'm not sure if he finally realized that I don't appreciate 5 a.m. phone calls, or he just had something better to do. Anyhow, I wish you could've heard him.
Then there's my sister, who never forgets my birthday. I waited all day for her call. And waited. And waited. Then I got busy eating my birthday dinner (my husband cooked) and I forgot.
This morning, there was a message in my voice mail.
"Sissy," she said, "I'm so sorry! I meant to call you, but I fell asleep. If you're still speaking to me, call me back."
Anything can be forgiven, if you love someone. But it doesn't hurt to let them sweat. I waited a few hours to call her back.
"I can't believe you forgot to call me on my birthday," I said.
"I didn't forget," she whined, "I just fell asleep. Are you going to put it in a column?"
"Would I do that?"
Then we laughed and talked and reminisced, as we always do, about everything and nothing, for a good long time.
It's nice to be remembered on your birthday. But it's better to remember that you are lucky to be loved every day of the year.
You don't have to send me a card for my birthday (P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077.)
Unless you really want to.
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