I’ve told the story of what happened on this day almost 30 years ago. Every year after, Sue made a point of mentioning or celebrating the date, or I’m sure I would never have remembered it on my own. I don’t remember how she would say it exactly, but it was something like this is the day I became your mother. The day was as sacred to her, as worthy of a card or commemorative gesture, as Mother’s Day.
What is a date? It’s nothing, really, just a way to mark time. One turn of the Earth on its axis. A way to fix ourselves to a place, to a moment, to an event. Yet each day of the year comes around like a painted horse on a carousel and we look up, and even wave.
But what if we want to separate ourselves from the memory of a date? Is there a trick that would work to rub out a memory? It hasn’t happened often, but I’ve forgotten this anniversary before, only to think of it the next day or days later with relief that it was past, the organ music of the carousel several bars ahead already. I’ve never forgotten it altogether, though.
I do know that there are prettier horses on the carousel, other dates that are worth remembering, dates that were pivotal in my adult life. Ones that are painted in bright detail and have flowery wreaths about their necks, that rise and fall to the music. The ones that everyone races to get to first. That aren’t gray and sad and fixed in place.
My children’s birthdays. The memory of a favorite vacation. Holidays. The things that can make me say, “Remember this time last year?”
One would think that after 29 years, almost three quarters of my life so far, this event would fall off my internal calendar. Maybe a renovation is in order. A new coat of paint on that particular horse. Something big or significant in some way to celebrate on June 29 every year. Even then, that other event will be subtext, but it’s worth a shot.