Yesterday was my 10th wedding anniversary. I started planning our celebration of this day about six months ago, researching romantic getaways, making an appointment with a professional photographer to have budoir pictures taken as a sexy anniversary present for my husband, putting heartfelt words to paper for a possible vow renewal ceremony. I wanted to make this day as special as I could for us. Ten years is a really big deal, right?
But all my planning came to a screeching halt about four months ago, when my husband informed me he was no longer happy in our marriage and had decided to rent a house outside of town. It came out of nowhere, and I was completely blindsided. Sure, we had been fighting a bit, but not for one moment did I believe our problems were enough to tear us apart. But the sad reality was, my husband already had one foot out the door, and I didn’t even realize it. While I was trying to plan a fun family weekend, he was opening his own bank account, purchasing home furnishings and rallying a few friends to help him move that weekend.
The days and weeks that followed were a blur, as I tried my best to make sense of what had happened and started to pick up the pieces. There were so many things to think about, and some days it was all I could do to get out of bed. You never really understand how devastating divorce is until it happens to you. I was trying to understand, trying to heal, and scared to death at the thought of being on my own. But as my mind was swirling, one thought kept running through my mind: How the hell am I going to get through our anniversary?
I imagined the worst – spending the day wrapped up in our anniversary quilt, eating quart after quart of that wine ice cream I found on Pinterest, watching painfully sappy movies based on ridiculously romantic Nicholas Sparks novels while bawling my eyes out and convincing myself that I was doomed to be alone forever. Or poring over our wedding photo album as our wedding CD played softly in the background, remembering every detail of that beautiful day 10 years ago. I was fully prepared to throw myself the most pathetic pity party possible that day.
But then I thought about how far I have come in the last four months. I feel stronger every day. I may not ever understand what happened to us, but I do know in my heart that it is over, and that things will never be the same between us again. I am starting to feel optimistic about the future. And I realized that to sit around sobbing about the past would be a giant step backwards. So I decided to make this day my bitch.
I got up in the morning and selected my most upbeat playlist to accompany my morning routine. I hugged and kissed my children repeatedly as we got ready for our day. I dressed in my favorite outfit and headed to work. I kicked ass that day, earning several words of praise and encouragement from my boss. I called the photographer who had planned to take the budoir photos and scheduled a family photo session just for me and my daughters. Hey, that deposit was nonrefundable.
I talked an old friend into meeting me for a couple of drinks after work. And then, later, I met the best group of friends a girl could ask for at our favorite restaurant for margaritas and Mexican food. God bless these girls. They have my back in a way that sometimes I feel I don’t deserve. They really came through for me, and I left the restaurant sore from laughing so much and feeling loved by people who accept me as I am and genuinely want the best for me.
And as I crawled into bed last night, exhausted but smiling, I realized that I had managed to give this dreaded day a whole new meaning. I had decided that perhaps it is time to start moving on, that I am the only one who can make me happy, and that even though one person had deemed me unworthy of his time and love, there are so many others out there who think I am pretty damn amazing. And that is what I am going to focus on from here on out.
Best of all, I don’t have to change all my passwords. A good friend reminded me that even though I will no longer mark the day I married my “best friend and soulmate,” this date will always have significance, because it was the beginning of a love and life together that brought my two beautiful children into the world. And for that, I will always be grateful.