Too little, too late

April 2, 2008 at 1:15 am 4 comments

Let me get this out there right away: 

Happy Belated Birthday to a faithful Pocket Lint reader, MY FATHER!

His birthday was on Sunday, a day after Zoya’s.   Six years ago, as I was near the end of my labor with Zoya, he called asking quite nicely if I would kindly wait another half hour so that he could share birthdays with his fifth grandchild. But Zoya came in her own time, and I am still thankful today that she was forty minutes shy of the afore mentioned birthday buddy.

It’s pathetic, but true.  I am bad about birthdays.  And it’s not even so much that I forget about them…I just don’t do anything about the birthday except most of the time think nice thoughts, maybe say a prayer for the person, or tell S at dinner “today is so and so’s birthday.”

The four years I lived in Ukraine turned me into a terrible communicator. 

In Kiev, I hardly ever talked on the phone.  I found it difficult to speak Russian without seeing the other person.  And really, having less friends, I didn’t have many people to call.  I was home more often, exhuasted from Russian and walking, and working on my scowl.

The distance across the ocean was like a get out of jail free card when it came to holidays.  It was as if the actual miles allowed me freedom from birthday greetings, Christmas presents and Mother’s Day cards.  I just didn’t worry my pretty little head about those type of details in the midst of learning how to say “Dietye menye kartoshka” (give me some potatoes).

I got used to talking less.  I read books.  I journalled.  I watched people around me.

I became a tad anti-social.

So now I’m back in the States.  Anti-social doesn’t fly when you are two hours away from extended family and friends.  People who had already kissed goodbye the idea of proximity and punctuation,  seeing my children open their presents on Christmas morning, lengthy phone calls about nothing in particular. 

I have hurt some people by my lack of communication, in essence, communicating my neglect.  Thankfully, important people in my life have learned to just call, or email, or comment here.  I am honestly very happy, and usually still a bit surprised,  to be in touch.  I guess I never thought that culture shock would be reciprocated here in the States.

Actually I thought myself quite sly, since last week I went on-line and picked out a book (sorry, Dad, if you haven’t gotten it yet, and now there is no surprise… again, Happy Birthday!).  S heard a discussion about the book on the radio and thought my Dad might like it.  I clicked ‘purchase item’ and that was it.  Birthday complete. 

Sunday came and went, and today, while standing in a toy aisle at Target, I called my Dad’s cell, to talk to my mom nonetheless about birthday presents for Polly.  Tonight, I realized that in the pleasantries exchange with my Father, I forgot to wish him Happy Birthday.

Too little, too late.  But wanted to offer it anyway.

Happy Birthday!

And that goes for all the other people who did not hear from me on their Birthdays this year. 

I am culturally confused. 


Entry filed under: Birthdays, Culture differences, Family, Ukraine.

The middle little… A good read, I’m sure.

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. theramblinghousewife  |  April 2, 2008 at 2:04 am

    At least you can blame it cultural confusion!

    What’s my problem?? lol

    Actually, I have gotten much better since I quit working.

    I think I was just to overwhelmed as a working Mom.

    Blah, blah, blah, excuses, excuses . ..:)

  • 2. joannmski  |  April 2, 2008 at 4:36 am

    Hmm… I am antisocial too. And always late with the birthdays. Someday that will stop. Um. Well, maybe. :-p

  • 3. Tara  |  April 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    oh, I’m anti social too. And I also stink at doing anything for birthdays but I TOTALLY remember them!

  • 4. jooleebrooks  |  April 3, 2008 at 7:49 am

    wow, you summed up the cultural anti-social thing so well. I still can hardly ask for potatoes and all other forms of communication here make me so tired I prefer to stay home and read a book, too. And browse the internet for comforting blogs like yours.


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