Monday, 11 January 2016

Anniversaries and coincidences

Every year, I’m taken by surprise by the fact that my wedding anniversary coincides with my wife’s.

Don’t worry. I’m perfectly prepared to admit that it isn’t really a coincidence and that I shouldn’t be surprised by it. The feeling is no doubt caused by the fact that it’s the only anniversary of its kind: others are individual, such as birthdays, or public, such as Christmas or, when we’re being French, the 14th of July. It’s therefore a little different when two of us celebrate the same day.

Today, as it happens.

What makes it even stranger, however, is that there’s a real coincidence today. Our granddaughter’s birthday falls on the same day. 

That wasn’t something we planned. In fact, our wedding involved pretty minimal planning of any kind: it was the only day our local registry office could fit us in and still allow us to be sure that it would occur before the likely birth of our first son. And that was important because, had he been born before we were married, he would have had French nationality alone and not British as well. As French law then stood, that would have left him liable to call up at eighteen for several months of completely worthless square-bashing and route marches, as a national serviceman in the French army. .

By the time he actually reached eighteen, French law had changed and he only had to do a single day’s service. I won’t repeat the story here of how it took him several attempts to do that day, because I’ve told it before, but he eventually completed it without much difficulty. That meant we didn’t have to be in such a tearing hurry back in 1983, but hey, there was little point in hanging around and I wasn’t sorry to make sure he’d be at least as much a Limey as a Frog anyway. In any case, we had no idea then we didn’t need to help him avoid the horror of national service (we didn’t know we were going to have a boy, because we preferred to be surprised than to cheat with an ultrasound, but it was always a possibility).
A little coincidence. On top of the large one.
On top of what isn’t a coincidence at all
The other coincidence, this particular year, is that the eleventh day of January happens to be our granddaughter’s eleventh birthday. That’s not something that will ever happen to her again. Come to think of it, it’s our thirty-third wedding anniversary, three times eleven, but I may be straining a bit to establish that as a coincidence particularly worthy of note.

Still, the anniversary and the birthday are worth marking anyway.

So to my granddaughter, happy birthday. To my wife, happy anniversary. And happy anniversary to me too. 


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