There is something primal about anniversaries. We have this emotional need to remember births, deaths, marriages, divorces – milestones in our lives. The passage of time is both a blessing and a bane in our existence.
There is a need-to-know status to anniversaries that pepper our married and family lives. God save the husband (or the wife) who forgets a wedding or engagement anniversary, and who doesn’t remember the day the divorce came through or that marked our retirement or resignation?
My dear mother-in-law celebrates Valentine’s every year as the day my father-in-law proposed. It gets more press than their actual wedding day. All I remember is that HoneyBunch proposed sometime in late September and we married two months afterward. I feel like such a romantic slouch for not marking the exact time and day the dear man popped the question.
Birthdays were big in my family when I was a child, so I did the same with my three. Their birthdays were circled on the family calendar in red marker and the entire day was considered just that – a red-letter day. It started with birthday wishes, cards, presents and ended with a special dinner, cake, and outing. I keep the birthdays of relatives, friends, and famous people who I have crushes on.
I remember the day I bought my first house (and every house after that). I also remember the days I sold each one and drove away from the title company with a hefty check in my hand. I remember the day I bought my first “cool” car. I bought a silver convertible out of rebellion when I turned 45 that January. I bought my red Jeep in December 2001 to celebrate my divorce, and I bought my maroon Altima in October 2014 just because I wanted to prove my independence.
There are some sad days marked on my calendar. The three times I stood and watched my youngest leave on deployment to the middle east are on there, but so are the three times I drove to the airport to pick him up afterward. The day we lost our baby grandson to a terrible household tragedy is marked, so are the days we said goodbye to my dear grandmother, my amazing father, and my handsome older brother.
It’s because people and events matter that we mark anniversaries. We measure the memory across time. We celebrate it occurrence and for a few hours we relive the moment. Good, bad, sad, or happy – it documents our lives.