Happy Un-Anniversary to Me

Divorce and remarriage have been on my mind more often lately. Maybe it’s because all the royal wedding buzz last week reminded me another April wedding, mine. All the talk of the royal nuptials may have reminded me that the date of what would have been my 15-year wedding anniversary to Nico’s dad was approaching. I knew it was coming, but then forgot about it until the day actually passed. I didn’t think about it, until I did.

Maybe divorce and remarriage been on my mind too because Nico, my son, our son, just got back from a wonderful week-long vacation with his dad for spring break. His dad took him to Kauai, Hawaii. That was the last place his dad and I traveled to as a family. We went the summer before Nico turned 2, when he was still a “lap child” and we didn’t have to pay for his seat. The 5 hour flight seemed to go on forever, as Nico, then 21 months preferred my cushy thighs to his dad’s bony legs. Once we landed though, we had a great time on our vacation.

Who knew that four months later our world would come crashing down and we would separate and then divorce? I was devastated. I felt like part of me died. After the initial trauma and grief I realized that eventually I would heal . For Nico, though, I wasn’t sure how he would get through it. Granted, he was only two-years old so he really couldn’t understand any of it, but his routine was upset. Even though I knew that I had given the marriage all I could, and I knew that I couldn’t do it any longer, I thought that maybe Nico deserved for us to keep trying. Was I being too selfish? I kept thinking what it would mean for him? How terrible would be for me to miss out on half his life, as he divided his time with weekly stays between two houses? I thought about how it would feel for him to have the two people who loved him the most, never be together again. What about the lost opportunity for him to have a brother or a sister?

My concerns were real then, but now that his dad and I don’t let the pain and sadness of our former marriage influence (too much) the way we treat each other; now that Nico and his dad’s relationship is closer than ever; now that I am in a happy, fulfilling marriage; now that Nico has a step-dad, siblings and an even larger circle of people who love him, I realize that while divorce can be difficult and sad, it doesn’t have to be tragic. While it is definitely the end of a marriage, the end of a familiar family structure, my divorce meant the beginning of a new way of life for me and it allowed me to create a new way of considering “family.” Nico’s dad and I have settled into an amicable co-parenting relationship, my marriage to Juan is more intimate and loving than I could ever have envisioned, and it has given Nico a brother and two sisters. This was certainly not the way I intended my marriage to Nico’s dad would go when I made those vows on an April date 15 years ago–there was no happily ever after fairy-tale ending. But, the life I am living and the family I am creating now, is its own unique story.

Another wedding

97 thoughts on “Happy Un-Anniversary to Me

  1. Wow — congratulations to you on all of this.

    I write about my own post-divorce re-invention on my blog … and it’s amazing how you can look back at yourself and NEVER imagine how the future “you” would be feeling at different times in your life. Truly bizarre. Of course, I think the special brand of craziness that characterized my divorce didn’t help much with the transition from married to single…or with my attempt to transition from chaos to calm. But I keep trying!

    Anyhow, thank you for sharing this, and I wish that I someday will find the kind of renewed happiness that you have.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I agree how when you are in the midst of trauma it’s difficult to envision a brighter future. But as the pain lessens, and it does, those glimpses of light allow you to see the promise of something different, something better. Good luck on your journey and I will be sure to stop by your blog.

  2. My parents separated when I was four. Like you seem to have done, they were determined to do it in a way that caused the least amount of pain for me. They still talked weekly to make sure that they were both on board with how I was being raised, they filled each other in on what had been going on while I was at the other’s house, and they always made sure that I never felt like I was being put in the middle.

    I know that it was rough for both of them for the first couple years, but they just sucked it up and did what was best for me. I can never thank them enough for that!

    Later, when my childish and innocent self started calling my dad’s new girlfriend “mommy,” and I know that it must have torn my mother’s heart, she just encouraged my relationship with the new women. She later told me that: “the more people who loved you, the better.”

    I’m always impressed and thankful for parents who can handle the breakup of the family with dignity, ensuring that the kids always have a supportive environment and are never made to feel like this is anything other than just a little change, like moving or getting a sibling. It sounds like you’ve done just that and I know that Nico will grow up to appreciate every ounce of maturity that you’ve shown it what must have been a very painful transition for you.

    1. Wow! Your words are an inspiration to me! Thank you for sharing your story. It’s encouraging to hear this, because there are still times when I feel the chaos in our blended family can be overwhelming and I wonder if Nico needs the reassurance that he is not lost in the crowd, or if he still feels loved in the crowd. I am glad to hear your parents kept your interests above their differences. As divorced parents, any parents for that matter, that is what I believe we are called to do.

    1. I do appreciate it. It’s amazing what we human beings are capeable of coping with in the trauma, but I know that there are others who have experienced far greater tragedy and learned to overcome it, even thrive. Thank you for stopping by.

  3. I am hopeful reading your post that, sometime, the on-going turbulence for the last five years might turn into calm. I am happy life has turned out well for you and your son. xo

    1. Hi Pamanner, thank you for your comment. I hope the turbulence in your life will ease, and that you will be able to glean something positive from this experience, ultimately, finding peace and happiness in your life. It is a journey, isn’t it? Safe travels along yours.

    1. Thank you Gbenga! I have tried and continue to try to keep my children’s best interests in mind. Sometimes, I know that they think I don’t, for instance when I don’t give them everything they want! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. This is beautiful! Anniversaries can be so hard, because they remind you where you could have been at this time, and they also remind you just how long has passed. I’m coming up to one year from my unwedding day – the day I was supposed to get married and we cancelled the wedding three months out – and it’s bittersweet. I’m happy we didn’t go through with the wedding and that I found out who he really was before the big day, but part of me wonders what if? What if I hadn’t found everything out and we went through with the wedding? Would I be happier? Would we be celebrating one year of marriage, maybe I’d even be pregnant by now? I just have to remind myself that I’m on this path for a reason, and where I am now is where I am supposed to be. I loved reading this post because it was a reminder that there can be love and happiness and a new reality after a breakup. Happy un-anniversary to you, indeed 🙂

    1. Hi Catherine. I am sorry to hear of the heartbreak you must have gone through that forced you to cancel your wedding. I know what this kind of thing feels like and the anniversaries that pass on a day which was intended to be a marker for happiness. As more of these anniversaries come and go, the date is a different marker. I think for me, the marker is a date which allowed me to enter into a relationship which ultimately transformed me, allowed me to help create a wonderful son, and led me to a whole place, where I could be open to loving again. Good luck on continuing to pass through your anniversaries and transforming them into a different kind of marker.

  5. bmestdagh says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It shows how a little faith and perseverance toward what is right, albeit confusing at the time, can work out for the better. Good luck to you!

  6. You are an amazing mom and your children (all of them) are lucky to have you. We have never used the words “step parent” or “half-sibling” in our house. It’s just family. I’ve tried to point out all of the likable qualities in my oldest daughter that are like her dad, and stay away from talking about why we aren’t married. I’ve been happily married to my husband, her step-dad, for almost 10 years, giving my daughter a clear picture of what a healthy relationship looks like. That would have been lost if the previous marriage had continued. Your son will be able to make healthy choices of his own one day because of the healthy choices you made.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    – Emily

    1. Emily, thank you for your comment and encouragement. I read your blog and was inspired by some of your posts as well. (I read the Gymnastics post a couple of weeks ago when it was FP too.) It sounds like some of our experiences may be similar, being a single mom for a while, finding love again, and then blending families. My boys, especially, consider themselves as whole brother’s even though they know they are from different fathers. In fact, before my younger son knew what to call my ex-husband, he would just call him “Nico’s Daddy.” These days, my younger son calls Nico’s dad, “Daddy C” and loves to spend weekends with him and Nico when it’s Nico’s time to go over to his dad’s house. Thanks for commenting and I look forward to reading more from your blog.

  7. rebelheart says:

    coming from a country where divorce is not allowed, we find it confusing on why people would get married then divorce later on. isn’t the purpose of courtship supposed to iron out the differences before getting married?

    there is the question of the child/ren getting affected the most as written in the article…. but at the same time i think divorce really should be allowed in our country. i’ve seen relatives and neighbors (husbands and wives) fight as if they are total strangers to each other and the current situation only forces either party to live a life of sin (bigamy and the likes).

    you shared part of your life to us and now we understand what to expect should divorce is allowed. thank you for sharing.

  8. after i got divorced, i read somewhere that psychologically, divorce affects a person more like a death than a simple break-up. you learn to depend on a person for specific tasks, affection, responses, listening…then they’re just not there. all you can do is carry on 🙂

  9. Thorenson says:

    I am not sure how I came to find your blog, I am not a blogger or even a big reader. I am about to enter into divorce and have a 5 yr old. Many of my greatest fears are what you have talked about. To hear from a womans perspective helps reassure me that I am doing what is best “for everybody”. I have debated all the pro’s and con’s that I can think of. There are so many different scenarios as anybody who has been through this knows. Thank you for posting about this and all that responded, you have helped lift some weight today.


    1. So glad we found each other and that the words here helped you a bit. I know how difficult a decision it is to make such a life change, especially when it impacts your children. Even when I played out all the scenarios of what would happen in my life, I don’t think at the time we split, did I ever think I would end up here. It was a difficult road but ultimately it was the right path. Good luck.

  10. I really enjoyed reading this! I’m going through my own loss now, and it was comforting to read a story of how things do work out, even when you’re not sure how. Thanks for sharing your story!

  11. As a product of parents who separated/divorced when I was two and a person who is know 30 (yikes!), I can tell you that, looking back on my life, my parents’ divorce although difficult for them was probably the best thing for me because moving on and healing allowed them to become the best versions of themselves, making them better parents and role models than they would have been in a unhealthy relationship. Plus, it didn’t cause any permanent damage (at least that I’m aware of ) and instead only broadened my view of what “family” means. Still to this day, my view of family is simply not limited to blood relatives. My very best friends are equally part of, if not more so, part of my family. Congrats on being FP and sharing your insight and wisdom.

    1. I like that, “moving on and healing allowed them to become better versions of themselves.” I like to think that Nico’s dad and I have done something similar. It’s good to hear that now, as an adult, you don’t feel any resentment about their divorce.
      I like your blog!

  12. ddLynnssundry says:

    Love how finding your true love brought more love into your son’s, and now his siblings, life! All the best to you going forward and congrats on being FP’d.

  13. I can relate to your post a lot on a personal level and, yes, an amicable co-parenting relationship is definitely possible (although so many seem to want it not to work for some reason? gossip maybe?) once the grief of splitting up has been worked through. I am pleased you’ve had a happy ending, the best proof that all of your decisions were the right ones. 🙂

  14. Great post. I went down the blended family route and it ended in disaster. So I am happy that things are working out for you. Does your current husband get funny when Nico’s dad comes around or when you speak to him on the phone? For me I found my partners ex a bit of a nuisance. I also found it difficult bringing up another persons children. I just found I couldn’t treat them like my own. Discipline also became an issue. How do you handle these feelings?

  15. elmer says:

    Behind the “M” logo is a bleeding man. I can relate in so many ways to you (did my vows too in ’96/marriage not made in heaven) and all peeps out there with the same sad/happy story. And I bleed not for our crushed matrimony –but for the collateral damages: the children

    1. I get that.
      The children, what about the children.

      I am so happy for this author’s happy outcome and her beautiful post. It certainly gives hope for the many wondering if there is a happy ending possible for them.
      I have a little collateral damage living with me who I try to shield from the storm.’ Happy’ for this little one’s parent’s seems far far away.

  16. I love how you see divorce as positive, sometimes we ought to have a healthy mind to understand situations like this. I may not be in a situation like yours (so I can’t exactly relate) but it feels great to read a nice article like this. 🙂

  17. This is a lovely story. I too am intrigued about the way life has a way of turning itself around and becoming something more than I ever could’ve imagined it would be; especially when it turns into something wonderful. Thank-you for being so open and honest.

  18. This caught my eye because today happens to be the anniversary of my girlfriend and I beginning our relationship. We’re going out, and we’re going to cherish it.

    I’m glad that your situation turned out okay. My parents separated when I was about 7. It turned into a decade’s worth of trouble and drama. My mother moved overseas to the Philippines about 2-3 years ago, and I’ve not spoken to her since.

    A couple of days ago I was reached out to by a cousin of mine. I hadn’t seen her for more than 15 years. She wants to help my mother and I re-establish contact with each other.

    I’m happy that you and your ex-husband can keep it together for the children.

  19. “Even though I knew that I had given the marriage all I could, and I knew that I couldn’t do it any longer, I thought that maybe Nico deserved for us to keep trying.”

    Before I asked my husband for a divorce, this was almost exactly what I was thinking. I’m so glad to see someone who has gone through it and come out on the other side happier. I am especially grateful to see that your son has a good relationship with his father AND a new extended family to love him. That gives me hope. Thank you.

    1. It has been surprising to me to hear of so many similar stories. When I was in the midst of it, I felt all alone with my decision. I am glad this post may have offerred you some hope, and hopefully some reassurance that you are not alone in this decision either.

  20. Such a beautiful post! Nico looks SO cuddly in that picture.. I just fell in love with your boy! Being a wife and a mom myself, I was deeply touched by your words. Congratulations on finding your way back to happiness. 🙂

  21. I’m really sorry if this offends, but up until you noted that you’ve remarried and have kids, I was thinking “go back to no. 1 – you seem to have cooled off a bit and are happy to try again!!”

    But you’ve mentioned that you’re very happy living a unique life with family new… so why not? All the best.

    P.S. That kid is too cute.. Looking very aloha indeed! 😀

  22. I am a “step” child and parent. What a nice post that shows how people can truly evolve, meld, change and become the best in every new and different moment. Both of my kids (my husband’s from a previous marriage) gave me cards addressed to Mom this year….first year for my son, but my daughter has been calling me Mom for several years now (she’s younger).
    My experience as a child of divorce helped me to be a better parent to my children from the very beginning. I never wanted them to go through fights or arguments, so there was little upheaval in that regard. We are a close family and I am looking very forward to grandchildren!
    Have a wonderful weekend…lovely post!

  23. This is a really great entry and inspiring. I just went through a breakup [which i was sad about today] and this was inspiring to read, knowing something good is coming in the future.

  24. For sure you are pretty talented writer 🙂 – amazing way to tell a story and instead of having your audience drowning in tears, you made them (us, I should say) full of hope, belief and smiles. Thank you for that!

  25. Esther LoVerme says:

    I was very touched by your inspiring and amazing blog! I remember you bringing Nico to the Parish Council meetings — he was not much older than his Hawaiian picture. The present is what I love about your journey. You, Juan and kids are so happy. Whenever I see you, you are always beaming. This is recommended reading for a few people I know. Is there a book in your future? You are a talented writer!

  26. Life goes on. I had another boyfriend, the one who cheered me up after I got my first broken heart. We were just in a relationship for three months when he said that “My feeling for you has gone.” I can’t blame myself, since I didn’t know what happened. It just happened two weeks ago. It still hurts, but yeah he was just my best guy at that time. 🙂

  27. Sometimes the worst things in our life turns out to be the best thing that happen. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. When I met my husband almost 9 years ago my life was in a tail spin, he very quietly said.”It took me a long time to find you, I can wait a little longer” and he did. We will be married 6 years in August..

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