Yay for Mistakes! Part 8 | Some Mistakes are Really Blessings in Disguise


Sometimes I make a small ruckus before my birthday, just to remind everyone it is coming up, and sometimes I don’t. Well a few years back I didn’t. It snuck up on me, like a cat on padded feet. I gave the month-in-advance warning, maybe the two-weeks warning, and then silence.

I woke up the day of and no one said anything. I was a little surprised, but decided to not say anything because perhaps it meant they were planning a bigger surprise for that evening. Or maybe they were employing the we-will-ignore-your-birthday-trick, to make you think we forgot, and then surprise! we didn’t.

Hubby called several times during the day, but made no mention of my birthday or asked where I wanted to go for my birthday dinner. I decided to play along and forget it to, then act surprised. But just in case they really had forgotten, I hurriedly heated up some leftovers. Hubby and daughter arrived home from work. Nothing. Unless you count “What’s for dinner?” and “Boy am I hungry,” as code for birthday surprises.

I swallowed my disappointment and sat down to leftovers. Maybe they were planning something after dinner. Keeping me in suspense. But shortly after dinner, hubby went to bed and no mention was made by the kiddos. By now, it was apparent they really had forgotten. Plain and simple.

I thought about saying something the next morning, but with the morning chaos never did.

Then hubby called to see what we got in the mail.

“I got a card from my dad.”

“A card?” he asked. “What for?”

I paused. “My birthday,” I said.

Silence permeated the line. Silence so thick, I thought he was lost in a fog thicker then hot cereal.  I imagined he was frantically flipping through his calendar. He must have found the right page, because there emerged a strangled, “Oh no!”  What followed was profuse apologizing and a quick good bye.

I knew he had called our daughter the microsecond he hung up with me because almost immediately I get a text from her saying happy late birthday and where did I want to go for my birthday dinner?

When hubby and daughter arrived home after work, they were carrying three bouquets of flowers (not the usual one), a big box of candy (not always a given), two birthday cards (one more than usual), and profuse apologies.  Needless to say, it was a bigger celebration than usual.

They had made a mistake, plain and simple. They had forgotten my birthday. A big deal, and yet not a big deal, depending on how you look at it. In the end, it all turned out fine. My birthday was more celebrated that year than it would have been had it been remembered.

We went out that night and laughed and joked more than normal, more than we had in a long time. Because we really had something to joke about. Something to tell the waitress. Something to laugh at.

It bonded us together in a way that a normal perfectly remembered birthday would not have. And guess what birthday I remember the most and with fondest memories? The remembered birthday? Or the forgotten and then remembered birthday?

Mistakes are not all negative.

There are many benefits of mistakes. 


Sometimes our mistakes make a better mousetrap or lead to a new invention. Maybe a new recipe, a better outcome, provide a new direction, or a new focus.

Sometimes we pick up the wrong book and meet new memorable characters.

Sometimes we turn at the wrong street and discover a new restaurant.

Sometimes we mistake someone for someone else and meet a new friend.

Sometimes we attend the wrong meeting and get saved.

Sometimes we sit at the wrong table and meet our soul mate.

My dad entered the wrong classroom the first day of college and ended up changing majors and joining the first class taught on computers.

In Anne of Green Gables, the wrong child is sent to the Cuthberts, but that mistake changed their life for the positive.

Not all mistakes are negative.

Some mistakes are really blessings in disguise.

Join the Discussion: Have you had a mistake turn into a blessing?

Next week’s topic:

We’ve been talking about mistakes.  Small ones are easier to ignore or laugh at or forgive than big ones. But what if someone makes a BIG mistake and things are not so fine? What then?

Posts in this Series:
Yay for Mistakes! Part 1; What Do You Do?
Yay for Mistakes! Part 2; How to Respond to Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 3; Responding to Our Children’s Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 4: How to Let Our Children Make Mistakes and Fail
Yay for Mistakes! Part 5; Quieting a Myth of Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 6; Mistaking Our Worth
Yay for Mistakes! Part 7 | Mistaking Paradise
Yay for Mistakes! Part 8; Some Mistakes are Really Blessings in Disguise
Yay for Mistakes! Part 9; Dealing with Real Big Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 10;  Letting Go to Make Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 11; Dealing with Critical Words From Mistakes

Accompanying this series, Life as it Comes, a story podcast, takes a humorous look at making mistakes in episode 31, “Have You Pulled a Theresa?” and episode 33, True Green and Garage Chaos. 

Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope).  A Wise Woman Builds her Home, Pat and Candy, Messy Marriage, Arabah Joy, and Blogger’s Pit Stop.

24 Replies to “Yay for Mistakes! Part 8 | Some Mistakes are Really Blessings in Disguise”

  1. I love this great reminder to watch for the Blessings in Disguise. Anne (with an “e”) is my favorite mistake turned into a blessing of all! I’m thankful to be your neighbor over at #TellHisStory this week!

  2. Wow, Theresa … I don’t know how you were able to keep quiet about them forgetting your birthday. That must have taken some major restraint. (It would have for me anyway. Don’t think I could have done it!) Anyway, I love how it all turned out. And your list of all those “mistakes” that lead to something better … priceless! (Especially the Anne of Green Gables one …) #TellHisStory

  3. Theresa, I love your flower pictures! And I also love this topic. Mistakes can be hard, and we can be so hard on ourselves when we make them. But there are positive aspects and God uses them! We learn, we grow, and we move on in a better way than we would have otherwise. Thanks for reminding us to look for the positives!

    • Yes, God can always use our mistakes to grow us and others. This can be hard to remember in the heat of the trial or mistake, but hindsight often shows us this. I hope we quit being so hard on our self and others, because we are often our own worst critic. Thanks for noticing the flower pictures. The cheeriness of flowers inspire me to smile.

  4. Hi, Theresa. What a great story. I wouldn’t have been able to hold up. I can picture myself as a blubbering mess by the end of the day. 😉 I’m glad it turned out well and caused better bonding. I love all your examples near the end and the optimistic viewpoint!

  5. Awww, how hard and yet you really rocked that situation, Theresa! I’m not sure I could’ve contained my disappointment for that long or be so gracious when the mistake was realized! But like you’ve said, mistakes can lead to even better blessings than if everything had gone smoothly! Love this analogy and your heart, my friend! And btw, if it’s not too late, Happy Birthday! 😉

    • Thanks for the birthday greetings, friend. Actually, last month was my birthday! (But not the missed birthday.They haven’t forgotten since!) And it has taken many years to be able to be so calm.

  6. I forgot my husbands birthday one year. I was talking to my Dad that afternoon and he said to wish Paul a Happy Birthday. I said that isn’t until Thursday. Dad said, “It is Thursday isn’t it?” I had to double check my cell phone to see what day it really was. Oops, it WAS Thursday!! My husband thought it was funny that my Dad had to remind me. (I am not that good at dates and this was not the first time I was late remembering his birthday.)
    Now I set my cell phone to remind me the morning of. LOL.

  7. I like your thoughts on mistakes. I’d say you were very gracious about your birthday. I think I would have finally said something and broke the silence. That was sweet of you! I’m glad they made up for it and you were so positive about it 🙂

  8. I loved your story and it is a good reminder. Mistakes are part of life and we can make the best of them and maybe it will even turn out better!
    P.S. Love the reference to Anne of Green Gables- I love her!

  9. Yes! It is so true, Theresa! God has a way of making beauty for ashes doesn’t He! Thanks so much for sharing this authentic reminder to search for the good in all things. Even in mistakes 🙂 And thank you for sharing with us at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,

  10. Great story Thersa. I really don’t like attention. I hate being thrown a surprise party. But when everyone forgets my birthday I feet terrible. I guess I just cant be pleased.

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