On What Would Have Been My Seventh Wedding Anniversary, I Celebrate

March 7th, my maternal grandparents’ anniversary, and 17th, my paternal grandparents’ anniversary, have come and gone, and so only one March wedding date remains: mine. March 27th. The date was chosen strategically, a nod to both sets of grandparents who managed to remain married over 50 years, though their lives were filled with the mundane annoyances that we all face and, also, unthinkable tragedies (both sets suffered the loss of children). The hope was that our marriage, too, would endure. It did not.

Divorce struck. The reasons aren’t really important anymore. It happened, and we’re all attempting to live our best lives post-fact. Let it be known, though, that no one goes into a marriage expecting or hoping for a divorce. If so, they’re crazy. It is not the “easy way out,” as some like to claim. It is a lot of hurt....and legal fees.

So, as I noticed my anniversary approaching, I began to reflect (I’m an introvert; I can’t help it). And I’ve decided that I’m going to celebrate.

I am going to celebrate a union that gifted me with two brilliant and healthy and gorgeous human beings.

I am going to celebrate that forgiveness is a real and powerful tool that I could stand to practice more often. It was not easy, and it is a choice I still have to make some days (especially while taking out the trash—I get a little resentful then), but it has freed me from a lot of bitterness and anger. And that junk is too heavy to carry around.

I celebrate that our kids are well adjusted. They don’t feel the need to choose one parent or family over the other.

I will celebrate the fact that I acknowledged that sometimes you have to cut your losses—for your dignity, self-worth, and the best of everyone involved.

I celebrate that we put the well-being of the kids first. We can communicate without issues, and we are both willing to work with the other’s schedules as we both try to navigate familial and professional obligations.

I celebrate the fullness of my current life. The divorce has pushed me outside of my comfort zone (going back to school, writing, traveling and presenting at conferences, dating), and it feels great. Crazy, sometimes, but great. I am not sure I would have pursued these opportunities if I were still married. I had different dreams then. Not better or worse, just different.

I am going to celebrate how divorce has changed me. It has softened me and humbled me. I try to catch myself before making swift judgments these days. I remind myself that we will never know anyone’s whole story. I choose compassion as much as possible.

Finally, I celebrate sending love out into this world. Did it last forever? Unfortunately, no. Did it end painlessly and easily? Also, no. But there were good times and memories, and I’m trying to pass those down to our children bit by bit, so they know that they were born out of love. And if there is anything I want to teach them it’s that choosing to love, regardless of the outcome, is always the right choice.

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