It’s funny how the mind works. Some of us have impeccable memories, some remember just the important information (eye color, birthday, anniversary), others remember the small details and still some have just plain horrible recall. I tend to fall somewhere between impeccable and remembering the small details. Depending on the person, the events and the way the information is presented, I usually have an impeccable memory. I can recall with great detail specific moments and events in my life no matter how big or small, right down to what people are wearing, what the surroundings looked like and even smells and sounds.
So, what does all of this have to do with dating or single life, you ask? Don’t worry, I have a point.
This past week I found myself reflecting on where my life was just one year ago. My marriage was far beyond over and I was on the midst of rekindling an old high school romance. I remember all of this not just because of the turmoil that was my life at that point but, because it was also the weekend of my mother’s birthday. What is the significance of it being my mother’s birthday? Well, because my mother passed away in November of 1998. Every year as a child, for longer than I can remember, we celebrated my mother’s birthday by going to the Topsfield Fair. Once my mother died, I kept this tradition going as a way to honor her birthday and the tradition.
My ex-husband, whom I was with for a total of nearly 15 years, knew this vital information. Over the course of our wedded “bliss” this tradition became just another thorn in the side of our marriage. The last year of our marriage, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, was when he didn’t remember the date and then fought with me over going to the fair because he just really didn’t feel like going on that particular day, not even just to be there for me, his wife. Anyone who has lost a parent knows that there are certain days throughout the year that are just that much harder to get through than the rest. For me, those days are primarily her birthday, Mother’s Day & my birthday. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed, these days are just as difficult 13 years later as they were the first year following her death. For him to dismiss not just the tradition but, my feelings and needs was heart wrenching for me.
We both spoke the same vows to each other on Friday July 9, 1999:
“I do swear that I’ll always be there.
I’d give anything and everything and I will always care.
Through weakness and strength, happiness and sorrow,
for better for worse, I will love you with
every beat of my heart.”
I had upheld my end of the bargain but, recent events put a HUGE spotlight on the fact that he had never lived up to his (being a cheating man-whore was another of our issues but, that’s a whole ‘nother story!)
Fast forward to present day and things with Mr. G-spot. Here is a man that I have known for all of 30 seconds (OK a clear exaggeration but, you get my point) who not only remembered that October 8th was my mother’s birthday but, also called to check on me the day before, day of and day after! This piece of information was something I casually mentioned one night while we were driving back to his place after dinner and yet he tucked it away in his memory bank and recalled it, without prompting, at the exact right time. I was flabbergasted when, during his phone call to me Friday while he drove home from work, he said “So, tomorrow is the big day huh?” I honestly thought he was talking about me taking the kids to the fair with my best friend and answered “Yup, gonna be perfect weather for the fair. Can’t wait!” He then said “yes, I think it’s great that you honor her this way every year.” I stood there in the cosmetic aisle of Target, Revlon behind me and an array of Sally Hansen nail polish infront of me, with my jaw on the floor. I heard the words but, the sentiment behind them didn’t compute immediately. “Oh, yup, it’s something we’ve always done” I finally replied. “I know, I remember” he answered, causing a huge, goofy grin to appear on my face and that gitty “aaww shucks” feeling to wash over me.
So, what is it that causes some of us to forget the most important, and sometimes basic, things about someone we are with? Is it simply bad memory or recall skills or is there more to it? When I recounted the phone call to my best friend she, in a her very matter-of-fact tone, said “of course he remembered, he’s invested.” Perhaps that’s the answer– we only truly remember the information directly related to people and events that we are invested in. If that’s the case, can I get a refund on my 15 year investment to Ex?