Two days after our wedding anniversary this year, my husband says to me, “Honey!! We forgot it! Again.” An even dozen deserves to be remembered. But we both are wise enough to know that the act of timely recalling a significant date is not nearly as important as what’s in our hearts on a daily basis.
Which is why he didn’t watch my face with apprehension as he broke the news, but burst into a sheepish, roll-your-eyes kind of laugh, knowing I would join him in making fun of ourselves — what! we’re not even 50! At least we remembered in the same month. For all the special people whose birthdays we forget, you can see that we are no respecter of persons (um, that doesn’t mean we don’t respect people…it’s a phrase that means we don’t discriminate!).
Again. My husband added that word to his announcement because, yes, indeed, we’ve done this before. Most memorably, it was our 7th anniversary. We were about to sell our first house. It was a small 1970s home with low popcorn ceilings and dreary, dark cabinets–at least that’s what it looked like before my husband went on a remodel craze. He completely updated the place, tackling everything from that horrible ceiling texture to the trim to the windows, and even added on another bedroom, bathroom, and family room.
At the very last minute, I, who had offered nothing to the entire project (except birthing babies and changing diapers, which, as all mothers know, is essential to any long-term home enterprise), decided that the 1970s brick fireplace MUST go. I recommended retiling it with slate. Fine, except we had the house on the market and a couple traveling from another state to look at the residence in two days.
Women can be impulsive like that. Especially nursing mothers whose hormones are still totally out of whack. Miraculously, my extremely
fussy artistic (and surely sick of remodeling) husband agreed and even trusted me to pick out the slate myself at Home Depot. People, I can’t even hang my own pictures in the house! But it was clear that this last remaining vestige of the 1970s was an eyesore amongst the otherwise upgraded design.
This is how we found ourselves on that August night five years ago, him mixing mortar and laying stone, me cutting (yes, running a motorized, acutely sharp object in my hormonal state!) squares of slate as he marked them. We worked at a frantic pace, with me occasionally having to stop to nurse the baby and check on the toddlers. I pondered our sanity. Our buyers would arrive the next day.
Sometime about 4 a.m., as I joined him at the fireplace in laying slate over dated brick, desperately wondering if we’d make it, he looked at me with bleary eyes and mortar-smeared hands and face. With a bit of a startle he announced, “Honey, it’s our anniversary!” We were utterly exhausted and filthy dirty, but working side by side and enjoying our combined efforts–not a bad place to be. We laughed and wished each other a most sincere “Happy Anniversary.”
I’m just glad it was him that remembered first.
We’ve promised each other that next year we’ll remember. We have the best of intentions, but it’s safer for us to treat each day as a special one, cherishing every moment of our crazy life, not saving our best attention for one certain day.