Recently, I called a friend to tell him happy birthday. He wasn't home. I made small talk with his mother for a while, because she loves me to pieces. (I seem to have that effect on other people's mothers.) She asked if I was home. Then she asked about my marriage (SNARF) and I asked her where she'd invented this husband, and if he was cute!
Just before she hung up, I told her to wish her son happy birthday on my behalf. And she said, "Oh, yeah!"
I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, and that it shocked me. But I can't, it wasn't and it didn't. I have only known this guy for a decade, give or take a couple months, and he doesn't talk much about his childhood, but it's pretty clear he's never had anyone.
He's the kind of kid who never did well in school, because noone cared if he did homework. He was always on the street, because noone cared if he came home. To this day, he still lives a life of just crashing whereever, because his parents don't bother to make any room for him (although they do for their other kids), and he'll never be in a position to own his own anything.
And he's always in some kind of trouble. Especially when I - as one of the few people who gives a chinese noodle - am overseas. Now, I'm not saying that a family that forgets (to the point that you wonder if they actively try) a person's existence gives them the right to be and do whatever they feel like. But it just got me to thinking.
What must it be like? To have noone on your side? To know that people care about everybody but you? To be the one who never has a present under the Christmas tree? To be the one crashing on a floor, while everyone else gets a room and a bed?
It has got to hurt. Like no other hurt I can think of.
My mother and I (like maybe half the women in the Western world) have a supremely complex relationship. Yet, my mother has never once forgotten my birthday. She's always checked on homework. She micro-manages my life despite my best efforts. (Seriously, she still manages to get in some poking about from the other side of the world!)
As a mother myself, I am made entirely of SUCK. And even I remember my son's birthday.(Helps that it's on a holiday. lol)
And, it's not just his mother. It's everyone.
So today, I'm praying for all the people who have noone. I'm praying for all the people that suffer from someone else's cruelty, intentional or not. I'm praying for their strength, and that they find love and understanding. I'm praying that someone reaches out just when they need it.
I'm praying that someone somewhere remembers their birthday.