My memory is particularly strong when it comes to dates. I can’t remember what I ate for dinner two days ago, yet I can remember my childhood friends’ birthdays. I associate a great deal of meaning with dates – the date I arrived in Tallahassee for college, the date I met Chase, the date I found out I was pregnant for the first time. Those are all happy memories, though. It’s the unhappy ones that I wish I could forget. I almost immediately forget the endings of movies I see, why can’t I get these dates out of my head?
My dad died on April 25. Fortunately, this year I’ve had a lot going on, including a fun trip to Disneyland, so I wasn’t in a funk for the 15 days between Avery’s birthday and the 25th like I have been in past years. Three years later, I’m doing much better. People say that “time heals wounds” and in some ways, that’s true.
Since my dad died, three people have come into my life whose birthdays are on April 25. First, was a little girl down the street I’ll call “C.” She turned one the day my dad died and turns four today. She suffers from epilepsy. C is so sweet and brave. My kids love to play with her and genuinely worry when she has a seizure or spends time in the hospital. She and her parents have taught us all so much. She’s an inspiration.
Second, was our nanny, “M.” She came to San Diego and stayed in a youth hostel to interview with me. M dressed up for the interview and planned to walk back to the airport afterwards (I drove her). She had a work ethic and maternal instinct that was possibly stronger than my own. M was only 20 at the time, but acted older. She had the most important job in the world, caring for our kids. Sadly, M moved back home to Washington, but she’ll always be a part of our lives.
Finally, comes my coworker, “A.” She’s my kindred spirit at work. Another non-economist and a working mom. She has two young boys and is divorced, so we discuss the challenges in finding work-life balance. We’re also not billing our hours to clients, so she is the only person who takes the time to chat on occasion. I need this interaction in the workplace, and she provides it for me.
While April 25 brought so much sadness, it also brought these lovely people into the world. I realized this morning one of my college friends has a birthday today as well. The worst day of my life – losing a parent – was one of the best days of their parents’ lives. Something about my obsession with dates makes me think they came into my life for a reason. In the future, if I meet others with April 25 as a birthday, I’ll take it as a sign.
I took my kids to Panera this morning to have my dad’s favorite bagel, telling Clay this was the day he died. He is still young, so I wasn’t expecting him to understand much, but he said “well, it’s not Grandpa’s birthday, but we’ll celebrate him today.” And celebrate, we will!