My memory is odd.
I can remember numbers forever. I know all my credit card numbers (and expiration dates) by heart. I know my current checking account number by heart. I used to know my old driver’s license number when we used to live in NY, and know most of my NJ driver’s license number. I know my checking account from when I was in college. I remember a bunch of my friends’ old phone numbers going as far back as middle school.
But if it’s not numerical, forget it. I suck with names, I suck with dates in general, and birthdays specifically. I only remember my dad’s birthday because it’s two days before July 4th. My brother and one of my friends have birthdays on February 1st and 2nd… but often I cannot sort out who has which birthday. If you asked me, I would be hard-pressed to come up with my mother’s birthday, though I would be within a day or two. One of my kids was born on July 21st, and one was born on February 23rd, and I am constantly forgetting which one was born when. I have to take time to process to make sure I don’t decree one birthday July 23rd and the other February 21st. And even then, I’ve made the mistake more than once. I totally suck.
And the dates I do remember, I never remember them on the date. My grandmother’s birthday is May 31st. Do you think I’d have any sort of red-flag go up in my head when that date was approaching, so that I could remember to send her a card?!?
I’m sure part of the problem is that I have a lackadaisical attitude about dates in general. I don’t care much to know what date it is. I’ve tried, but the interest peters out pretty quickly. I like to know the day of the week, and am pretty consistently good about knowing what day it is even when schedules are screwy. It’s rare for me to say “Today feels like a Tuesday even though it’s a Monday” or something similar. But that today is the 25th? It just never crosses my mind, unless a very specific need comes up, to activate such information in my brain. Maybe I’m just clogged up with old phone numbers.
Anyway, today’s weather was forecast to be gorgeous, so it seemed a trip to our town pool (which is fabulous) was in order. We hadn’t seen them in a few days, so I called the in-laws and asked if they wanted to meet us there. They had nothing pressing on their schedule for the afternoon, so they met us at the pool, where we hung out and frolicked with the kids and just had fun for a couple hours. Then as we’re packing up, my mother in-law asks if we’d like to come over for dinner tonight. I thought about how, with more forethought than is normal for me, I’d prepped all the ingredients to make chili tonight. So, I asked if it would be OK if we did it Saturday or Sunday instead. They said OK, but my mother in-law seemed miffed, or disappointed, or something. I noticed it for like a millisecond and then Jake was trying to launch himself into the pool with his clothes on, so I didn’t dwell on it and put it out of my mind.
Then Frank called this evening. He said he was out of work but was going to stop at his parents before coming home. Why, I wondered aloud. Because it’s his mom’s birthday, duh! he responds. Oh… well doesn’t that explain a lot. Seriously, I would have sworn three ways ’til Tuesday that her birthday was August 3rd.
My husband’s a kind soul and tried to make me feel better by shouldering a little of the blame, because he didn’t remind me. Really, he shouldn’t need to. But at least he knows my date-memory enough to realize that maybe date reminders are a good idea. And I’d love to take the opportunity to lay the blame at his feet but I don’t have the heart. I need a system for this stuff. Maybe something like, oh I don’t know… a method of tracking dates, perhaps in grid format. Possibly on paper, to allow for writing in pertinent information.
I should look into that.