Saturday, 16 March 2013

A day between the Ides and Saint Patrick's day.

Note on The Day 2016. 

This was first posted on Multiply in 2012, then again a year later. It is now four years later and we are maintaining the pattern. Since this was written the big 50 passed without any recognition whatsoever. Yes, I was a bit teary and miffed in spite of knowing better. Spouse's loss of hearing has made celebrations with people not fun, so I did not organize anything. But rather than pining I ended up having a wonderful day with a new friend. So it goes. 

One more note. On May 5 2016 Spouse was diagnosed with a horrid disease that is a close cousin of Parkinson's, with some Alzheimer's characteristics as well. Progessive Supranuclear Palsy. We are doing the "in sickness and health, till death do us part" thing now.
Forty-seven years ago this day, on March 16 1966, I was crossing a bridge over the ancient canal that at that time was home to Amsterdam City Hall. 

It was a cold, blustery day with some sideways rain. A just-married couple, she in full white regalia,  emerged from the hall into the lousy weather. And I thought: "Poor bride. But then who plans a wedding at this time of year?" At which point a little bell went off in my brain, and I remembered that this day marked our own first wedding anniversary in the same location.

Look at how tall he was! I am wearing the highest heels I ever had. These days we see eye to eye with me in flats.

This set the tone for future years. I take full responsibility for my own part in the lack of celebratory rituals.
We were in our bohemian phase and had lived together for two years before marrying, a daring thing in those times. We considered ourselves beyond bourgeois concerns like wedding anniversaries.
Alas, by the time I got over that and would have liked some recognition the pattern had been set. Mother's Day ditto. 

Many subsequent anniversaries passed without being marked in any fashion.
By the time we hit 20, our circle of friends was just recovering from one of those waves of  splits and reconfiguration that seem to mark modern life. I was so grateful to have been spared that whole scene that I did not mind that this historic day was overlooked.
Note me looking up at man  adoringly and handsome man smiling over my head into the distance.

The suit had been tailor made by the fiancee of a friend who was a professional. The fabric was this colour. Yes, I kept the little hat.
I did shed a few private tears when 25 passed in the same fashion. It was not one of our better years anyway, and no, I will not go into details. Anyone who has been married a long time knows that "for better or worse" includes the ups and downs of the relationship itself. I sincerely believe this society would be healthier if fairy tales ended with "And they had some very good times, as well as some bad ones, and lived tolerably ever after."

At 30 things had improved. I did not really expect much but still harboured a small hope. The day was marked by our daughter calling at night. "Hi Dad, congratulations". "Congratulations on what?" "Your 30th anniversary." "Anniversary of what?" 

At 35 I took matters in my own hands and organized a dinner with our daughter's in-laws. They owned a store at the time and handed us a nice basket, with the words "Happy Anniversary". Bewilderment on the part of spouse. "I thought your anniversary was in July?" An ESL moment. "No, that's my birthday." We laughed it off as the mature people we were by now and enjoyed the outing.

By now, I am resigned to living with a man who just does not do dates. It's nothing personal. He would walk through fire for his children, but I am not sure he knows their birthdays.

40 and 45 coincided with visits to the kids. We often go to the coast in March, which is a miserable month of melting snow here and full spring in Vancouver.

Today marks the 48th, so help us Goddess. Needless to say, it passed  unmarked. I will organize something in two years, if we are still around. 

Meanwhile I appreciate my Old Dutch for constancy, loyalty, a shared history and sense of humor, a compatible view of the world, and many small kindnesses that make daily life more pleasant.

Happy Anniversary.


  1. Such irony there:) My husband forgets dates, not because anyone ever encouraged him, I think he does it on purpose to avoid spending money. Our revenge is to make huge deal out of his birthday.

  2. Happy anniversary Ien! A good life together is more important than remembering the exact important dates. Though remembering them would certainly bring a little extra joy to it. Onwards to the 50th!

  3. Happy anniversary, Ien! For this year and the past 48! You were married for two years, two days before my birth. Now that has to be auspicious. I'll be sure to remember your 50th then :) I don't get to meet many folk who've been married that long, so I fully expect you to be around for the big 50!

    1. Oh dear, that reminds me how old I am....Not that I mind.

  4. Happy fiftieth!! I hope you got some sort of... something. :-D

  5. Actually the new iPad min I had treated myself to arrived today. And I had a very nice day with a new friend.


Comments have been set to anyone, un-moderated, and no captcha. So if you were here, wave to me? Spammers will be deleted and acquire bad karma to boot.