“Would you like to go out to dinner tomorrow night,” my husband asked. “It’s the anniversary of our first date.”
What? He remembered that?
Every woman wants a man who remembers dates. My husband is one of those men. He remembers the date we met and the date we were in Toronto when he asked me to marry him—not the day of the week or the time of the year—but the actual date.
I guess I could call it a little habit of his.
But then, he also remembers the date he met his first wife, the date he asked her to marry him, the date they decided to leave Toronto and move to Montreal, the date she told him she was pregnant, and the date she “knew” about the cancer having recurred.
Dates: March this, or June this or April that, ad infinitum.
I have a hard time remembering the dates of my own children’s birthdays. One year, Christmas almost got by me without my even noticing.
I keep a calendar with all the important dates on it, but I still forget.
I’m just not a date person. I’m an experience person. I don’t remember when things happened, I remember that they happened. I have been known to forget my own grown daughters’ birthdays and they are forever emailing me with reminders of their children’s or their sister’s children’s birthdays.
“Don’t forget, Mom, next week is G’s birthday.”
My husband and I have been married for three years and I go through the days of our life together not knowing when any particular date will stand out on the calendar of his mind; such as the date he moved here from Canada with M, or the date they put the down payment on their house in the U.S., or the date they went to the doctor to have him confirm the awful truth about her cancer.
I just don’t attach that much importance to dates. But he does. And I have to say, while he may remember the dates of his life with me going forward—it’s a bit disconcerting that he has such an ongoing and indelible living calendar in his mind of the dates that mark his life with her. They are dates occurring in, and overlaying on, my own life without me even knowing it.
“This is the date he and M did this thing or that thing.” Or that’s the date they went to New Mexico or that they drove by the place where she casually said she wanted to have her ashes scattered.
Marrying a widower.
You get blindsided by all kinds of things. Not the least of which is an ongoing calendar of dates.
But then I wonder, wouldn’t I want the same thing from him? Wouldn’t I want him to remember the dates of our first breakfast together or our first opera together or of when he asked me to marry him?
Since he is a man of dates, of course I would.
So, I struggle with walking in two worlds. The world of illusion in which I want to be the only one on his calendar and the world of reality in which I most certainly am not the only one—this world in which I share the calendar of his mind with someone who came first.
Do I secretly wish she be erased entirely from that calendar? But then, would I want to be erased entirely were I to be gone—were I to die first? Of course not.
I have a choice.
I can feel left out and hurt by my husband’s predilection for remembering the dates of his former marriage, as if it puts me in some kind of second place. Or, I can accept that his habit has nothing to do with me, that he’s been doing it all his life and that it’s just the way he is.
I could come once again to that point where I see either that everything refers back to me or where instead, I see that I am actually not the center of the universe and that in remembering the dates he remembers, my husband is doing what he needs to do, what matters to him.
I could see that remembering dates is all about him and not all about me.
I could in fact, ask myself would he even be the man he is, the man I love so dearly, if he were a man who didn’t remember dates?
Author: Carmelene Siani
Editors: Travis May
Image: Flickr/Jenny Cu