Who can actually be bothered with wedding anniversaries, wonders Sophie White who has yet to remember hers... well... ever
I forgot my wedding anniversary again and to be honest, I'm most upset about missing the #tbt post on Instagram. I got married pre-Instagram and have yet to get sufficient justification for posting one of my best ever #ootd efforts. The advent of my anniversary would’ve presented just such a moment. If I could ever just notice when it’s happening.
I have never remembered my wedding anniversary. I have a 100% fail-rate when it comes to remembering this day. I walked into the kitchen last week to find a bunch of flowers flung haphazardly on the table. There was also a jumbo bag of peanut M&Ms – one of my favourite things. The bag has to be jumbo though, mind; do not try to fob me off with a standard size bag. Still, not even a stirring of something forgotten recalled did I feel.
"Flowers?" I said to my husband.
"Huh," I was perplexed, nothing about the day was coming back to me.
“It’s our wedding anniversary,” he explained.
“Oh, right.” Still perplexed but only at the fact that he’d remembered - he is similarly terrible at these things. “I can’t believe you remembered.” Seemingly, this information was proving more shocking to me than the fact that, yet again, I’d neglected to.
“Anne texted me and your mum and…” he proceeded to list more than six friends and family members who, incredibly, were more on this than we were.
On reflection, I’m not sure we’ve ever successfully both remembered this thing. Last year, I got a text from my mother one sunny but otherwise unremarkable June day wishing me a happy anniversary. I broke the news to the husband that evening. He was engaged in a particularly impressive display of what I like to call advanced parenting: he was holding a baby while trying to peel garlic. I was sitting on the opposite counter admiring the effort – it really was good, he had some kind of elbow action going to help loosen the skin of the garlic (and yes I am aware of the irony of remembering the minutia of this high-level parenting while still being apparently unable to remember the day I signed a legal document effectively binding myself to this person.)
In fairness to him, he actually remembered in 2015. At the time, we were in the throes of a very protracted (and pointless) multi-day fight. The kind of fight that we don’t even bother with anymore since it’s a rare issue that would justify the sheer paperwork required to extract ourselves from each other.
That time, like any sensible married person, he wielded his knowledge like a weapon, taking full advantage of the momentary higher ground he’d gained purely by dint of remembering some stupid date in June.
“Would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow night,” he texted.
“Why would I want to do that?” I was still being a righteous bitch, not realising that he had the edge on me now and was teeing up a very satisfying little victory with his anniversary-remembering.
“Because it's our anniversary,” came the slam-dunk reply.
Touché, my friend, touché. We wrapped up the fight and went out for dinner.
I recently read about a couple who practiced something they’d dubbed the 'Every Other Year Anniversary' where they took turns each year to “forget” the anniversary so that the other person could engineer an elaborate surprise celebration. Cool, if that's your buzz but who has the time? Never mind the energy? We can barely manage to get through a whole movie without one or both of us falling asleep.
Sometimes, I think anniversaries feel a little bit like clock-watching. A long marriage is an achievement to be sure, but putting years on a marriage – clocking up marriage mileage, as it were – doesn’t necessarily speak to the depth of the relationship. Shorter marriages shouldn’t be failures for not having ticked off a certain number of years and longer marriages, as we all know, may not be happy ones.
I think the main reason I cannot seem to remember my wedding anniversary is that I don’t actually think anniversaries are very important or useful. I don’t really believe marriages are made up of big things like anniversaries and birthdays but rather about a trillion teeny, tiny things.
On the years when times have been hard, I don’t remember the elaborate evening my husband planned on our anniversary or my birthday. I remember him making me laugh even when I felt like crying. I remember him rubbing my eye sockets every single night because oddly this is the nicest thing anyone can do for me. I remember him being there beside me as the days drifted past, sometimes banal, sometimes hectic, sometimes sad and sometimes just grand.
So I can’t remember what day it was in June when we made things somewhat official but I do remember hundreds of days when seemingly nothing happened but our hands touched and our eyes met and we were home.