The significance of dates

Last night ES and I were talking about the significance of dates. Today is a big one for her (happy birthday!) as well as for me, at least it used to be.

Today would have been my ninth year wedding anniversary, which written out seems crazy. I can’t imagine having been in that marriage for nine years. It also seems silly: if I were still with my high school boyfriend, we’d have been together almost twenty years! If Ben Franklin were alive today, he’d be over 300 years old!

ES asked me if I feel any significance about this date anymore, and really I don’t. It’s been four years since my ex and I split up, and it’s not like we did the same thing every year to celebrate. I actually can’t remember anything we did, though I assume we must have gone out to dinner or something.

The only October 28’s I remember clearly are, of course, my wedding day, and the first one after my divorce. I’ve written about my wedding before. It was a beautiful fall day and went off without a hitch, but it was also very stressful, between money troubles, parents not getting along, and everyone making demands (sure, random lady, my father-in-law will take time out from picture taking to pick you up! don’t even think of driving your own car!).

It does make me a little sad to remember happy moments – like my ex running across the dance floor to kiss me as everyone clinked their glasses – but it was such a long time ago and so much has changed since then.

My first anniversary after we split was 2005. Jennifer Aniston’s and Brad Pitt’s divorce became official right around the same time as mine, which seemed so significant at the time because Brad had supposedly cheated on Jen, and there was an interview with Aniston in Vanity Fair about how she was dealing with the divorce and being single again. Just like me!

I reserved that day as a time to mourn. It had been over six months since our separation, and more than a year since finding out about his affair. All that time I was a tangle of emotions: rage, misery, then tremendous relief. But not grief.

I took the day off. I worked out, then picked up chocolate eclairs at Fauchon on Park Avenue (before it closed) to bring to SB’s. We had lunch, inhaled the eclairs, and tried not to laugh as her daughter impassively dropped food onto the floor from her high chair. That night I treated myself to a facial and massage, and that was when I got sad, not so much over my marriage – I didn’t want it back, no way – but out of loneliness.

Since then I haven’t gone out of my way to do anything special. Now, four years later, ES’s birthday trumps any other meaning, just like newer, more positive memories around other dates have replaced older ones. Do I miss married Thanksgiving? No way: who wants an incredibly stressful day when you’re asked to prep and clean for a dozen people watching your every move while your ex and his parents fight constantly? Not me. Now Thanksgiving makes me think of Mongolian hot pot with my parents.

In fact, my memory of October 28th is now replaced with the memory of hanging out with SB and eating eclairs.

Today I won’t be doing anything special, aside from this post. I have materials to send to two writing contests and I’m getting my hair cut this afternoon. But I may get some eclairs.


  1. woah … today’s my birthday, too, and also when my boyfriend (whom i thought i was going to marry) broke up with me 4 years ago. i still forget sometimes that it happened on my birthday …

    some happy memories definitely make me sad just like yours do, but mostly i don’t think about it anymore. i guess it helps too that it’s my birthday. there are always enough distractions with friends to trump whatever sad emotions I might wallow in by myself.