It has been noted by Dr. Darling that I haven’t really written about The Great Birthday Faux Pas of 2005 in any kind of detail. She seems to think it’s a prime example of how I intentionally downplay my own screw-ups compared to the lengthy entries I write about hers. There’s a very good reason for this (besides human nature, that is): her screw-ups are funnier.
But, in the interest of fairness, I will share a little more info about how I blew off the traditional Swedish birthday ritual I knew nothing about. How could I NOT have known, you ask? Well, because other than the first birthday I celebrated in Sweden THREE years ago …I ‘ve never really seen the tradition in action.
That year, Dr. Darling did indeed wake me up by singing the Swedish birthday song and presenting me with Princess Cake and coffee as breakfast in bed. I had been in Sweden for exactly two-weeks at that point and was deeply touched by the gesture … especially since getting up early is not exactly the Swede’s forte.
But I did not know at the time that it was a Swedish thing … I just thought it was a thoughtful Dr. Darling thing. It was, after all, my first birthday in a foreign country…an event even more poignant because it was the 4th of July. Plus … the breakfast in bed routine NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN, and re-occurence is usually a feature of important traditions, isn’t it?
My first opportunity to perform this ritual for Dr. Darling (had I known I was *supposed* to) would have been in 2003, but we were on a cycling trip in Denmark on her birthday so the subject never came up. Then last year we were at her brother’s house in Halmstad on June 26, and none of the Swedes in her family woke her up singing either.
So fast forward to last Sunday. Given my experience of birthdays since moving here … both my own and my Swede’s…how the hell was I supposed to know that I was supposed to do this, or that she would be so disappointed if I didn’t?
(Like I said, her screw-ups are much funnier.)