My parents had a real birthday party for DH a few days after his Unbirthday Party. They didn't do it because NMIL's party was a failure. They didn't do it because they were trying to outshine his FOO. And they didn't do it out of obligation. Their motive was unconditional love, pure and simple. They have always respected and accepted DH, even knowing how extensive his dysfunctions are. Imagine, my family threw him a birthday party after only knowing him for a few months. They didn't expect anything in return. There were no strings attached. DH didn't leave feeling sad or guilty.
It was a small gathering, the guest list short: my parents, my aunt, my oldest brother and his family, and my youngest brother. I have a third brother who was unavailable, but would not have missed it had he been able to come. My mom asked DH what kind of cake he wanted and if he had any requests for dinner. I think we even sang "Happy Birthday" before we cut the cake. There were a few presents - a new tool box, a drill, a gift-card to home depot. I still remember how proud DH looked when we walked out of the house with his new tool box and tools, a spring in his step and his head held high. I think he even jokingly said, "I'm a real man now!" as we were walking to the car. His mannerisms reminded me of a happy little boy - instead of being crushed with the pain of defeat, as he had been after his mother's "party," DH seemed to be happy and content. The little boy DH had gotten what he needed - validation, acceptance, perhaps a little attention.
DH's real party was spectacular in its symbolism and meaningful despite it's lack of extravagance. DH didn't need a lot of people, expensive gifts, or a card with a huge sum of money stuffed inside. He just needed love. I know DH being loved by my FOO is not the same as being loved by his. But I can't help but feel that we're lucky to have at least one family that loves us unconditionally and truly has our best interests at heart. Their love envelopes our growing family. It made me so happy to see that they could provide for him what he never had growing up - love. True unadulterated love.
What is a birthday party for, anyway? It's about recognizing that your special someone was created; acknowledging his existence, wrapping him in a warm embrace and telling him you are happy he was born. I am happy DH was born. He's my Jonsi, my best friend, my soul mate. My FOO is happy he was born because they recognize what a beautiful soul he has and how happy he has made me; how happy we have made each other. It is so, so sad that NMIL can't See that as well. But at the end of the day, he and I have each other. We don't ever have to worry about Unbirthdays again.