The Ides of March

Confession: I chose March 13 over March 15 as Charlie’s birthday because I would rather have his birthday be the 13th than on the Ides of March.

Because Charlie was a planned Csection, I was given the option of a Tuesday or a Thursday birth (the days my OB was scheduled to be in surgery), I chose Tuesday, March 13 regardless of people telling me 13 was an unlucky number and that he would eventually have a Friday the 13th birthday.

I don’t really believe in luck, good or bad.  Which I realize is going to make the rest of this post sound hypocritical.  Or at least not rational at all.  I don’t care.  It’s my irrationality and my blog, darn it.

Anyway, I didn’t want Charlie’s birthday to be March 15 otherwise known to Shakespeare readers and history buffs as The Ides of March.

For the Romans, the Ides of March kicked off a religious holiday season, but most people today recognize the Ides of March as the day that Caesar was assassinated in a meeting of the senate by Brutus and Cassius.

I know, you’re thinking, you would rather have your son’s birthday on the 13th than the anniversary of Caesar’s death?  Have you lost your mind?

Probably, but that is not the point here.

Really Caesar has nothing to do with it.  In fact, as a literature teacher, I have spent 10 years spookily warning my students to BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!!!

But ten years ago, on the Ides of March, something else happened.

It is weird to talk about now because I am so removed from it, and as a married person, it seems like it should be irrelevant, but the truth is, it was was a game-changing event.

Ten years ago my boyfriend of five years broke up with me out of nowhere.  We had started dating during the summer after my sophomore year of college and stayed together, despite the fact that we were vastly different, until March 15, 2003.

Our relationship, looking back, was fraught with toxicity. We got in a habit of only seeing each other on weekends since I was in college and he was a friend from high school who was still living in our hometown and working.  After I graduated from college, we kept the same weekend schedule since he was working third shift by that time.

I put in most, ok ALL, of the effort in the relationship.

In the end, he did me a huge favor when he told me, Kate, we just want different things.  You want matching bath towels and nice dishes and a yard.  I don’t. Even when I protested that I really didn’t need those things, that I didn’t need marriage to be happy, he knew better than I did: We are just different, Kate.  You would NOT really be happy without those things. Or with me.

I was devastated.  My family didn’t make it easier on me.

They all announced that none of them had really liked him anyway and thought he treated me like crap.  They all told me it was for the better.

They were right, but at the time, it still hurt.  Telling me the past 5 years they had watched me make what they all felt to be a colossal mistake hurt. I loved him.  Or I thought I did.  No, I did. I did.  It was like kicking me when I was down to tell me no one liked him.

I felt stupid.  I felt vulnerable. I felt dirty.

March 15 was the start of a months-long dive into a huge hole of depression for me.  I self-medicated with booze–LOTS of it–and chose sleep over food.

I was told to get over it, move on, quit talking about it and thinking about it.

Of course, that made me dwell on it more.

The funny thing, I wasn’t mad at him.  At all.  In the beginning I thought maybe we were just on a break, but as I watched him move on and date someone new, I wasn’t naive enough to believe we would get back together.  But I wasn’t mad at him.  And it made me mad when people tried to make me feel better by bad-mouthing him.

He knew he wasn’t happy with me and that I couldn’t possibly remain happy with him.

He did me a favor.

Because of our break up, his apartment-mate–one of my best friends from our group of friends–spent more time with me checking in, making sure I had a square meal every day, and working to get me out of the house.

All that time spent together culminated in his asking me out that fall, and asking me to marry him the following summer.

My youngest brother told me something that spring during my depression that has stuck with me for the past decade.  He said, “they say the time it takes to get over a relationship is equal to the length of the relationship time two. So it will take you 10 years to get over this.”

I think he was right.

It’s not that I wasn’t “over it” before now.  I certainly don’t think about my ex-boyfriend very frequently.  But he was a big part of my past.  Those five years don’t just get erased because we broke up.

We went places together, we spent time with each other’s families, we had inside jokes.  We were part of a tight group of friends from high school, and once we broke up, many of us lost touch with him.  It created a splinter in our group.

Life changed for more than just the two of us.

We started our relationship as kids, just 19 years old, and we ended as 24-year old adults.

Even though the break up ten years ago ended up leading me to my happiness, it was still one of the ugliest days of my life.

I really DO beware the Ides of March. I don’t think they are unlucky per se, but I did not want my baby born on that “anniversary”.  It was too weird.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl…wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Okay, this is completely unrelated to what you actually wrote about…but can you imagine how epic Charlie’s birthday party will be when his birthday does fall on a Friday!?!?

    Also, I completely feel you on not wanting specific things to happen on specific dates. I’m a numbers person and I am really weird about not cross contaminating good days with anniversaries of bad days.

  2. I agree (with you and Amy) that happy anniversaries, if you can keep it from happening, shouldn’t coincide with sad ones. And it’s hard, at the time, to recognize when someone is doing something good for us. In hindsight, we usually agree but it still may be hard, even 10 years later.

  3. You want Charlie’s birthday to be special every year. You want it to be HIS day, so I think it’s perfectly natural that you chose a date that would not be a reminder of another er, occasion.

    My sister’s birthday is July 13. She’s had Friday the 13th birthdays before, and they were no less lucky than the others. 🙂

  4. As someone with a birthday on the 13th, I have to tell you, 13 has always been very lucky for me. Which means this year should be very lucky indeed. 🙂

  5. As a mom of a tween girl I can tell you that 13 is Taylor Swift’s lucky number and look where she is today! I have little superstitions (for lack of a better word) like this too and totally get it.

  6. I would’ve felt the exact same way! I’m not superstitious at all, so the Friday the 13th thing wouldn’t bother me. If I could choose my children’s birthdays I wouldn’t want it to be a date that already has some significance, especially related to an old relationship. My daughter was born on my step-father’s birthday. That, I am okay with.

  7. “He knew he wasn’t happy with me and that I couldn’t possibly remain happy with him.
    He did me a favor.”

    He did Cort, Eddie and Charlie a favor, too.
    🙂

    You know that I love your love story. And I’m so glad that the dark parts have a happy, non-Shakespearean ending.

    “If music be the food of love, play on!”

    XO

  8. I remember that time in your life and let me tell you I see the difference in you. You are a much happier person and Cort is definitely the best person for you.

    Love you all!

  9. That’s some sage advice you got from your younger brother… and I too have to agree.

Trackbacks

  1. […] At some point in college, during the summer between my sophomore and junior year–the last summer I would come home and not stay in my university’s city–I began dating a mutual friend of ours.  I dated this friend for five years before he broke my heart. […]