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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

She's Out Of My Life

Thursday March 17th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude at all the birthday wishes I received this year, and they’re still trickling in three days later. How flattering. I always try to remember people’s birthdays if at all possible, even though once in a while I’ll let one slip through the cracks.

   Most times I’ll nail it though, and I love it when someone is genuinely surprised that I’d remember. It makes them feel special, and I love that. That’s what birthdays are supposed to be in my estimation. It’s someone’s personal holiday and spotlight day to celebrate life.

   I’m sure some of this has to do with never knowing my mother. I used to wonder where she was when I had birthdays as a kid, and why she couldn’t at least give me a call or put a cheap card in the mail or something. It made me feel like I wasn’t important in her life.

   After several years of never hearing from her, it kind of got moved to the back burner of my mind. I just wrote her off, even though Mother’s Day used to remind me of everything again. There was never any closure there, and still isn’t. She just took off and that was it.

   That whole situation was apparently a complete mess according to what I’ve heard from family members over the years, but kids don’t know that. She was my mother, and I never heard hide nor hair of her until I was about 10 years old. She came and picked me up with my sister Tammy and brother Larry and took us to the Milwaukee County Zoo for a day.

   It was very awkward for us all, as I really wasn’t all that close with my siblings either. It felt like a day with a total stranger and a couple of acquaintances I barely knew. When the day was over she dropped us off and that was the only time I saw her until I was about 18.

  Maybe that’s part of the reason why birthday greetings and cards and making a big deal of it is important to me. I love to pamper someone and let them bask in their personal day. When it comes back in return, it’s fantastic. I lost count after 800 online birthday wishes.

   I know Face book makes it easy, and some people just do it to everyone, but it still feels great to see all that mail come in anyway. Most of them were from people I know and like and I felt like I was at least a little bit special to somebody on this insanity filled planet.

   One person I didn’t get anything from was the woman up in Milwaukee I’ve been back and forth with for so many years. This is the third birthday in a row she’s missed and my patience is over. I sent her a text saying it hurt my feelings, and it did. I always remember her birthday and her kid’s birthday and try to make them feel like they’re special that day.

   To not have it come back brought all that coldness from my mother’s absence back into play and it really made me feel like a bag of fertilizer, minus the bag. I know I got a giant pile of greetings from some fantastic people I really like, including women, but not even getting a call or text or email from ‘her’ hit a big klinker with me. A dented can has to be careful of not focusing on the one bad thing, but it’s tough. It hurt. She is SO out of here.

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