I share the same birthday as my son who now lives in another state. I usually call him in the morning to wish him “Happy Birthday”, but this year I completely forgot. Around 9:00 in the evening I had yet to receive a call myself, but found out through my ex-wife the next day that he was very upset I hadn’t contacted him. I can’t understand why he couldn’t have picked up the phone and called me instead. How do I discuss this with him without starting an argument?
I recommend you use this opportunity as an advanced trainable moment for your adult son. Say something like, “Son, I understand you are upset with me for not calling you on your birthday. I assure you my intention was not to hurt your feelings. The day got away from me and I completely forgot to call you. I remembered late in the evening, and realized you had not called me either. Now it seems we are at odds as to who offended whom first. In the future, let’s make a pact that the first person to wake up calls the other person. As your father, it’s my job to make you feel safe, regardless of your age. I love you and don’t want this to be a wedge that comes between us. Let’s call a truce and build on our relationship from here.”
RM, my advice is to respectfully lead by example, regardless of your son’s age. Good luck.