Anniversary Milestones: A Life in Review

Princess Daisy and Monkey. My greatest gifts in life.

My first anniversary gift was an eight inch Henckel knife. I remember my soon-to-be ex laughing, telling me it wasn’t a good idea to buy your new wife a knife for your first anniversary. “Don’t you want something else?” he asked. I explained that I really wanted the knife so he bought it for me. Nineteen years later, I still have this knife.

Our ten year anniversary was special. Princess Daisy was eight months old and we were enjoying all he wonders of being new parents. We had started a company together three months before our anniversary and were happy with the early success. We went out to dinner, talking incessantly about Princess Daisy and our company. We were proud of both. My soon-to-be ex surprised me with a beautiful bracelet at dinner. He thanked me for bringing Princess Daisy into this world and for the support of his professional endeavors.

The fifteen year anniversary we attended a parent’s meeting for our kids’ Montessori school instead of going out. I asked that we not exchange gifts that year because we were about to pay tuition for two children to be in Montessori, close to $2000 a month, and I was worried about the financial commitment that lay ahead. The year before we had separated for three months and the relationship still didn’t feel right for either of us. School commitments seemed to be an easy excuse for both of us.

These are the only three anniversaries I can remember. The rest are a blur. There were several years we forgot our anniversary, with one of us realizing it a week later.  Like the knife, maybe this was not a good sign for our future together.

Yesterday I  hired a new attorney, hoping he can bring creative solutions and a fresh perspective.  I shared the update on my legal representation with my soon-to-be ex yesterday as well. It seemed to unnerve him; he is worried things will escalate as a result. Several times on the phone my soon-to-be ex said, ” I would sign papers tomorrow if I was comfortable with the terms.”  We talked three times yesterday at length and one thing resonated for me:

“I would sign the papers tomorrow.”

Tomorrow is here.

It’s our twenty year anniversary.

I am not sure he even knows it is our anniversary since so many years it was forgotten, but I remember this one.  It is big and on the eve of this marital milestone, he flippantly stated he would give me the one thing I want most from him. And yet, he won’t. it won’t happen today.

But there will be a celebration.

During the day my kids and I are visiting with two old friends, RE and RB. The kids are excited to see my friends’ kids and to ride a ferry on the trip there and back.  I am excited to give RE and RB a big hug and thank them for being in my life all these years. These ladies have been in my life for seventeen of the twenty years I have been married. Ten of these years we vacationed as couples and then as families. We experienced married life together and now, many years later, they are supporting me through the divorce.

This evening I have a big date. AC and I are going out to celebrate. AC and I met only eight years ago, but she belongs in the posse with RE and RB; she is one of us, just missed out on the early years. She is such a special friend.

And there will be gifts.

RE, RB, and AC will all be receiving twenty year anniversary gifts from me today. These three ladies are my closest friends and have been here for me every step of the way. Newlywed,  miscarriage, babies, work stress, financial challenges, career changes, financial success, marital strife, medical challenges, separation, reconciliation, and now divorce. I know these ladies will be here for me in the next twenty years of my life. Today I am celebrating their friendship.

I hope I remember this day forever. I hope that each August 24th I can wake up and silently thank the man I was married to for twenty years because he gave me gifts I will enjoy the rest of my life: Princess Daisy and Monkey. For that, I will be forever grateful.

And of course, I do still love my knife.






35 responses to “Anniversary Milestones: A Life in Review”

  1. This was a wonderful, grounded, mature post.

    Yes, you are handling all of this disappointment so well, beyond well.

    It is wonderful to read something not laced with bitterness, anger, hate, revenge.

    This was so wonderful.

    You are blessed with such a perspective, and your children will see this.

    I loved this.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thank you Alexandra. I will ultimately lose if I switch my perspective and become bitter and angry. Hate is a bad word in our home as I am trying to teach the kids there is a better substitute at all times. As they become older, I think I am losing this battle since they are learning the real bad words.

      There is no room for negativity when I am in pursuit of happiness.

  2. What a beautiful post. Happy ‘anniversary’. I hope you have an amazing day!

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thank you Sara for the kind words and for wishing me a happy anniversary. I have shed my first round of tears and am now getting ready for the day with friends.

  3. I hope your time with friends tonight brings you joy and peace.

    I had a hard time with my twentieth as well. We had been separated and were in a period of reconciliation, but to celebrate just seemed fake. We weren’t there yet.

    Isn’t is wonderful that with age comes the wisdom to see that just because others think you should celebrate it doesn’t mean you have to?

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thank you for visiting today Robin. Actually, I think you visit me every day. Thanks for being a regular reader!

      i do appreciate all that comes with age. I feel it is a better time than my 20’s!

  4. Jenni

    On my anniversary last year, my ex sent me a text message, “Happy anniversary.” I replied back with, “You’re an asshole.” And that was that. ;)

    I hope your anniversary celebration with all your dear friends goes well. You deserve the escape and girlfriend time.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Only you Jenni would have a comment like this! While we have never met except in the blog world, I feel like you would be a fun person to hang out with. You crack me up!

  5. This post completely brought me to tears.

    My husband and I separated last November, a month after our 6th anniversary. And this is something I’ve been trying to push out of my head….not only am I coming up on the year anniversary of the day I destroyed my family, but I realized a month before that I’ll be having to go through our anniversary. The first one since we’ve been separated.

    I don’t even know what I’m going to do but at least I have good friends.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      I am so sorry you have had to experience this too. I hope you are in a better place as this next anniversary approaches in a few months.

      Hang in there.

  6. I hope your date is spectacular.

  7. You definitely have the right attitude. Often when we are faced with disappointment, and an ending of a relationship, we forget those we are blessed with. You seem to be a very strong woman who is grounded, and happy with herself. You will come out of this with a renewed spirit, I’m sure!

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thank you Urban Cowboy!

      I recently told a friend who was seeing daily experiences from a negative perspective that sometimes happiness is something you have to work hard to achieve. It is there daily, but sometimes we just have to look for it.

      I decided that I was going to work hard to recognize the blessings in my life and to work hard for happiness on my anniversary day. It was something I knew I wanted to achieve.

      Check in tomorrow to see if I was successful.

  8. great post….I hope someday too I can look at an ex-anniversary in the same way. For now I still have too much raw emotion for the pain he caused and the financial situation he left me in. Enjoy your celebration!

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress


      We all come to these various separation/divorce milestones with a different history. You will find your way in your own time. I am working on also honoring the emotions I feel at any particular time and being gentle with myself. I hope you can do that with where you are right now.

  9. clyde

    While this is a painful time… it seems to be that you are discovering parts of yourself dare I say treasures that are very valuable .. like new freinds and people to inspire. keep being naked

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thank you Clyde for all of your wisdom and support! You are a wonderful friend.

  10. You are blessed to have such wonderful friends to support you.

    And, one request: any chance you could remove the partial feed and publish full feed in the feed reader? It is causing me to not click through.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Texan Mama,

      I am blessed with friendship, love, and support from many people. The struggles in life are opportunities to find hidden blessings. I will forever cherish the friendships of those who came forward at a difficult time in my life.

  11. Thank you for such a refreshing outlook on what could potentially be a breaking point for any woman and mother. And thank you for posting about these friendships- you reminded me to contact a friend who has been on my mind this week.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      I am glad to have reminded you to reach out to a friend. Thank you for visiting!

  12. This is awesome.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thank you Grace. YOU are awesome. Thanks for following along on my blog and inspiring me.

  13. Jess S

    this was lovely. Heartfelt and heartwrenching and then it made me laugh at the very end in such a short amount of space. Hello from TRDC!

  14. So glad you linked up to RDC. This is a must read for anyone dealing with any difficulty. Handling things with acceptance and grace isn’t always easy but the outcome is usually more palatable.

    Cheryl’s last blog ..Blue, blue, my love is blue . . .

  15. It takes a strong, courageous woman to stand up and say – I am going to remember the good and appreciate the gifts this man has given to me. To be as noble as I can be in this difficult situation. Princess and Monkey are very lucky to have a mom like you.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me because I feel like it is a daily struggle with the divorce to make the best choices for my children and worry about the ramifications. I can only focus on what is best for the children and be true to who I am.

  16. Well, I guess I will say happy anniversary. It seems so sad that things are ending this way after 20 years. Still, you’ve gotta love a knife that’s still good all those years later!

  17. I don’t know if this was linked up in error, but I loved this post. It was great. Thanks for sharing your history and your memories. I hope since this was posted that you received the gift you were hoping for.

  18. A beautifully written post. I hope you enjoy your time with your friends

  19. Wow! What a great post! Although it was mixed with a twinge of sadness, it was very good!

  20. This is a great post! It is well written. You are also handling the situation very well! But it’s good that you have a positive outlook. Keep that great attitude!

  21. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about Anniversary Milestones: A Life in Review .

  22. I like it. You got two awesome little persons out of it, and a great knife!

    Also – a great post. :)

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thanks Joe. A lot of good came from the marriage, but far too much bad. I needed to change my life for the better.