I think it was Tess in Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles who noted that whilst we celebrate out birthday every year, there is another special date that goes by every year that we don't acknowledge because we don't know what day we are going to die. Now, granted that's not the cheeriest way to open a piece but I think about it a lot - not dying - about celebrating specific dates.
This occurred to me as I was shopping for my ex-husband's Father's Day present. I have the pleasure of being mum to three children. Two of whom were fathered by my ex-husband and my third little angel is the child of my current husband. (Yes. Let's call him that. Keep him on his toes.) All the kids are fairly happy and settled, despite the oldest two having to go through the divorce of their parents which - let's face it - is never ideal. After going through my own parents' separation, I never wanted it for my own kids. Imagine the two people you love most in the world not liking each other anymore? It's horrible. My folks divorced when I was exactly the same age as my daughter during my own divorce and I was horrified history was repeating itself. My mother and father didn't speak for years and I hated it.
We worked hard on making everything civil between us for the sake of the kids. The children and I went to family therapy and it was really helpful - even if it threw up the issue that my 2-year-old was very cross with me because Daddy no longer lived with us.
We came through and ten years later I've re-married and the ex is about to re-marry too. The kids however, have grown into these lovely thoughtful people who - annoyingly - care about everyone and not just me! This means that when Father's Day comes around, they want to buy him gifts. Or more specifically they want me to buy him gifts that they can then give him. It's lovely of them and slightly jarring. My husband takes care of the Mother's Day presents and he knows that the greatest gift is an extra two hours in bed away from the kids.
So this week, whilst buying his gifts, it hit me that we don't celebrate the first wedding wedding anniversary - if that makes sense. We seem to focus on the divorce part and not the years in between where it wasn't all awful. Two lovely kids came from that marriage. It wasn't all bad. There were lovely bits too and I am absolutely convinced that the amazing relationship I have with my husband would not have been possible without going through what I did to emerge the person I am now. I think we should celebrate all the good things too.
So with that decided, another question came at me. Who do I celebrate my first wedding wedding anniversary with? I'm pretty sure my husband wouldn't be crazy keen to do that. I can't go for a celebration lunch with my ex and the first two kids and leave out the third child can I? I'm fairly certain that a quiet dinner with my ex would upset both our other halves but then who? And where? And how? Also, I suspect my ex is relieved there is one less date he has to have in his head. Can you imagine if I flung that at him? "By the way - we are bringing back celebrating our wedding anniversary". I can see the panic in his eyes already. It's almost worth doing.
I still have the nagging feeling I should be doing something to mark it though. I am all up for a party I really am but if anyone has any ideas on how to celebrate this date, I am all ears.