Anniversaries – not the happy kind

I am very poor at remembering dates.  I probably know only about a dozen birthdays and a handful of anniversaries outside my immediate family.  It’s not my gift to remember such things.  But it is for some people.  My Grandpa Walt, for example, was a vault for significant dates.  He remembered everybody’s birthday, anniversary, the date they moved into a new house.  These are happy dates.  He also remembered dates related to his service in World War II – when he went to basic training, the date bombs were dropped on Japan (as he was en route on the Pacific Ocean), the date he got home.  Not all of these are happy anniversaries, or at minimum bittersweet and complicated.

Maybe you have some unhappy anniversaries as well.  I have a couple.  Two years ago on September 29, we nearly lost my mom or believed we were after getting a terrifying middle-of-the-night phone call.  What followed was the fastest trip down I-70 I’ve ever taken, lots of praying, emergency brain surgery, ICU, and a difficult six months of chemo and radiation.  Some of that time was really hard.  It was really hard on her.  And it was hard on our family.  I can’t help but think about what I was doing two years ago around this time.

Maybe you have some not-so-happy anniversaries.  Traumas such as the death of a loved one, car accident, divorce, or illness.  Some clients I work with have difficulties with anniversaries.  They say things like “this is the month my baby would have been born” or “the last week of May is hard because that’s when we lost my brother.”  When these anniversaries are causing impairment in work or social functioning, therapy can help a person to sort out their feelings, process grief, and develop new coping skills.  They might remember the anniversary in new ways – an annual balloon release or picnic, for example.  It can be a time to draw together with others who share in the not-so-happy anniversary.

If you struggle with a not-so-happy anniversary, know that you are in good company.  There is hope for moving forward.  The anniversary will always be significant, but your ability to to manage the not-so-happy anniversaries can improve.


I just love On This Day that comes up in my facebook feed.  Don’t you?  It’s the first thing I check.  I’ve been on this facebook thing for a smidge over 12 years, which I know because On This Day reminds me of what I was doing then.  And what I was doing on today’s date in years since.

Five years ago this was my post: “So it only took 12 days of trying to stuff two children and all their paraphernalia into our RAV, but today we bought a (gulp) van. Yes, I now drive a minivan.”  In the words of a good friend, Kyle and I left a part of our youth on that car lot five years ago.

I consider my minivan one of many sacrifices I make as a mom.  It’s not sexy.  It’s not fun or sporty or even clean.  It has a scratch on the bumper from not pulling far enough into the garage.  It’s white – the most popular color according to Forbes (story here) and also the most boring (according to me).  Supposedly white shows less dust (according to my husband), but somehow my van always looks dusty.

But on the upside of #VanLife…it is so convenient!  I can push a button and the door opens on the back passenger side.  This is a lifesaver in a busy parking lot while toting a baby carrier and holding a toddler’s hand while the other slightly larger toddler walks around to get in on that side.  Also I can park in fairly tiny parking spots because those doors don’t swing out.  And I can hold EIGHT people!  {Note: I did drive a sedan in college that we managed to fit 11 people into one night to get late night Bob’s Diner, but thankfully that predates my facebook days and there is no photographic evidence to come up in On This Day}

So one last On This Day regarding #VanLife – two years ago a picture came up of my son playing soccer and my comment was, “at least now I have a child playing the sport that matches my van.”  And it’s true.  I’ll be the soccer mom and drive the non-sexy, non-sporty, non-fun vehicle.  This is my current life stage.  But someday my kids will be big enough to open their own doors and not hit the car parked next to us.  I’m guessing that will be about the time my daughter is getting ready to drive.  Maybe the mini will get passed on to her.  And she won’t truly appreciate it until she blows that 11 person record out of the water on a late night Bob’s Diner run.