I’m sort of famously terrible with remembering dates. No matter how close we may be, unless you were instrumental in my conception and birth, or we are married, I have probably forgotten your birthday.
Actually, I probably forget your birthday every year. I am sorry. Sometimes I realize this days or weeks later when I begrudgingly log into Facebook, but by then it seems too embarrassing to be all “Oh wow, happy belated birthday! So sorry I forgot!” because I FORGET EVERY YEAR. I sort of expect my friendships to operate on the trust system in the birthday arena -- y’all just have to trust that I do eventually realize I missed your birthday and I do wish you another wonderful year of life, but I am probably too motified to say anything.
If it helps, while I can’t honestly say I’ve ever forgotten my own birthday, I routinely forget my wedding anniversary. And when I remember, usually the day before, the day of, or the day after, I’m always way bummed, because DAMN, we could have planned an event! Or at least justified spending money on a nice anniversary dinner or something! (My husband -- Dennis -- is actually worse than me with dates, which I wouldn’t have thought possible, but he routinely forgets his sisters’ and parents’ birthdays, and mine is the only birthday he ever consistently remembers.)
Note how I said “a nice anniversary dinner or something.” We don't usually do anniversary gifts, so our usual plan for these landmark dates is usually LET’S GO BUY A LOT OF REALLY GOOD SUSHI. Dinner is great, and sushi is extra-great, but I kinda want to focus more on the “or something” this year.
Because. Um. August 1, 2013 will mean we have been married for ten years.
This is bizarre to me for a lot of reasons, as it doesn’t seem that long ago that thinking back to ten years ago meant remembering myself in a school uniform and obsessing over my unrequited crush on a drummer in a local punk band. But indeed, that’s twenty years ago now, which Y’ALL EVEN JUST TYPING THAT WAS SO HARD. IT’S BEEN TWENTY YEARS SINCE I WAS SIXTEEN. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Sorry, okay, I’m focusing. The point is that I feel like we should do something really neat for our tenth anniversary, like when we planned a last-minute trip to Vegas for our fifth anniversary, even though neither of us gamble nor are we particularly into hip nightlife but it was REALLY CHEAP because who goes to Vegas in August? And we had fun new adventures in the desert, and fun new adventures are what we do best.
See, I’m actually really proud of my marriage. Not so much proud of the fact that I get to be someone’s legally-recognized partner, or that I found someone sufficiently willing to put up with my quirks and foibles as to tether himself to me for life. While marriage is swell for lots of reasons, I don’t think it should always be the inevitable end-all of a serious relationship, and I’d really prefer if we could rewire our culture such that marriage of any sort did not carry so much social weight. Because it sure seems to me like marriage’s high social value happens at the expense of a variety of other types of legitimate long-term relationships.
So, I’m not proud that I GOT married, but I am proud that I have STAYED married.
I’m not married because the state of Massachusetts says I am, and I haven’t stayed with my husband because divorce would have been too cumbersome and annoying a process to follow through on. I’ve stayed because I have chosen to -- sometimes, in certain periods, I’ve had to CHOOSE to do so multiple times a day.
That’s because marriage, like many committed long-term partnerships, is an EFFORT. It is hard fucking work. I am proud of my marriage because there have been times when it was extremely difficult. Lots of shit has gone down in the fifteen years since our very first date.
Still, neither of us has ever walked. We’ve worked it out and -- cliché alert -- come out stronger in the end. I don’t think every marriage can be a happy and fulfilling one (my own parents divorced when I was six, and I remember primarily feeling relief at their split) but I am proud to have thus far provided half the solution to the giant puzzle box of keeping myself and my husband together, and happy, and totally revoltingly in love.
So I’m thinking we should do something on August 1, to recognize those ten years. Something that isn’t just an expensive sushi dinner. But I’m at a loss. So I’m looking for ideas. I’m open to pretty much anything. What have you done for anniversaries, for those of you who mark and celebrate them? Is there a traditional tenth-anniversary thing I should know about? Your help and ideas are appreciated.
Damn. Ten years.