He forgot our wedding anniversary. The Carpenter totally blanked.
And guess what? I let him. I said nothing. I did nothing. No anger. No guilt. No emotional outbursts or passive aggressive drama. Zero. And for the record: yes, we’re still married and yes, he’s still alive. I promise. I have witnesses.
Part of this was to fluff my ego by proving that this man needs me more than he knows. As the family coordinator of all appointments, activities and payments, the Carpenter expects me to remind him of dates and events. Verbally, of course (What? You thought he read the colour-coordinated family fridge calendar? Snort.).
I didn’t send him a flirty text that morning. I didn’t post a message on social media to tip him off. I wanted to see what would happen if I was no longer the “reminder.”
Worth noting: he forgot the anniversary, but he remembered the Seattle Seahawks played Sunday at 1pm. He planned an entire weekend of chores around his beloved NFL team. Believe me, if Seattle played on our anniversary, the Carpenter would have remembered it. He would have lovingly bought me chip dip and suggested I relax with a movie in a different room. Subtlety is not lost on my man.
That didn’t happen and so, you could say, I dropped the ball on purpose (I cannot speak for the Seahawks). I found it oddly freeing not to put an emphasis on this day, not because it doesn’t matter to me, because believe me, it does. It was more because I was reminded that once-a-year dates don’t matter as much as every day does. Marrying the Carpenter is the one decision I have made in my life that I got right. I have never doubted that. Every good thing I have in my life I have because of my relationship with him. Absolutely everything.
I knew his forgetfulness wasn’t personal. It wasn’t a reflection of his love for me; that was never in question. Work stress, the pressure of keeping us afloat and the overtime to get a job done to deadline were his focus for weeks. Too many rain days, not enough paid hours. Reality. But I also know him well enough to know he doesn’t put value in counting every single year of anything, from birthdays to anniversaries. He just doesn’t. He doesn’t mark time; he prefers to simply live it.
I could have reminded him, but all that would have done is made him feel bad, like he had to jump through some hoop of tradition, spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need, to live up to some expectation that I don’t really have. I wanted him to realize I’m grateful for the moments that we never circle on a calendar.
Four days past our anniversary, the Carpenter remembered. The text message I received was short and sweet. Two words. I will let you guess what they were – if you think it’s “I’m sorry,” think again. Hilarious.
While we’ve changed in our years together, his authenticity has never wavered. He is who he has been for more than 19 years. I still love who he is. That’s enough.
Plans are now underway for our 20th anniversary, for which we’ve decided to go watch a Seattle Seahawks game together.
It’s time we make time.