October 30, 2001
Anniversary Protocol


Anyone know what the protocol is for celebrating special anniversaries after you're married?

I'm not talking about celebrating the actual wedding anniversary. (In our case, that's still another eight months, twenty-days and eight hours away ... not that anybody's counting.) I'm talking about all of the other, more personal/less official anniversaries that two people collect during the course of a romantic relationship: all of the little special occasions that Hallmark doesn't make cards for.

The anniversary of the first hello. The anniversary of the first kiss. The anniversary of the first "sleep-over."

(Or in some cases ... ahem ... the anniversary of all three combined.)

Do these anniversaries become obsolete once a couple ties the knot? Or are they still considered viable reasons for celebration? Are you still allowed to make a moderate amount of fuss over them? And if you are allowed, what constitutes a 'moderate amount' of fuss? For instance, is hiring a sky-writer considered excessive? Or should you just stick to confetti and marching bands?

This is the sort of stuff I'm wondering about today.

This morning, when I reminded David that today is our three-year 'anniversary' -- three years since the day I got off that airplane and we met each other for the first time, face-to-face -- he didn't seem much impressed. If anything, he seemed slightly disturbed by the news.

"Don't worry," I hastened to reassure him. I know that look of panic when I see it. "You're not expected to do anything about it."

This is not strictly true, of course. And he knows it. As unofficial anniversaries go, he knows that this one rates about an *11* on Secra's 1-to-10 Important Occasion Meter, right after Tot Births and the Sobriety Anniversary. Not only is today the anniversary of the most unexpectedly exciting, most thrillingly romantic evening of our lives, it is also a celebration of all the good things that followed.

Overlooking this one might not be the end of the world. But it might make things pretty darned unpleasant around the Ю僱êrvØ¡/SecraTerri household until then.

Still, out of deference to the sad and unsettled condition of the world right now, I'm not interested in doing anything wild or noisy or flamboyant to commemorate the occasion. Neither one of us has the *emotional oomph* for it right now: the muted observance suits us just fine. And out of deference to the unsettled condition of our finances (see: Three Weeks of Temporary Voluntary Unemployment), I'm not expecting to celebrate in any way that involves actual money.

(Especially since neither one of us HAS any right now.)

It's not the celebrating that counts, anyway. It's the remembering. And I'm more than happy to "remember" this special day in small but significant ways. A spontaneous midafternoon phone call. An unsolicited foot massage. Turning the radio off so we can talk in the car. Forfeiting the remote control without complaint. Cooking dinner. Watching the news. Peeling a mango. Taking turns on the computer. Borrowing a pair of his socks. Bedtime bowls of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. A gentle fingertip beneath my chin as he kisses me.

In other words: all the stuff we do every day anyway.  Which -- when you think about it -- may be exactly the sort of *protocol* required for this occasion.



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