The Phantom Anniversary

This week was and wasn't my thirtieth wedding anniversary. It was, because I got married in 1988. And it wasn't, because we split up 11 years ago. 

I think of this date as my phantom anniversary. Most years it passes with minimal notice - and it's noticed mostly because it's the week of July 4th, so forever wedded in my mind to that holiday. But I took more substantial notice at the 20 mark (we actually had a mediation appointment that day), at 25 and again, this week, at 30. 

I loved my wedding. Heck, I loved my husband. I loved celebrating anniversaries, except toward the end, which should have given me a hint that it was toward the end. Love is something to celebrate, especially when it results in a child I love more than anything.

But a big phantom anniversary is bound to induce some retrospective thoughts. What used to be, what might have been, what went wrong, but also what went right. 

A phantom anniversary is an opportunity to remember what will always be a special moment in time. Not in a get-out-the-photo-album way, but in a minds-eye kind of way. I remember when three of my grandparents and both of my parents were still alive. (Today, it's just my mother.) When I worked at a job I loved, with people who were then and remain today my dear friends. When I was new to Los Angeles and energized by regaining three things I'd given up in Manhattan: a tree, a car and a dog. And when I was in love with a man who made me laugh every day. 

I will always love my memories of that day, and that time of my life. I will always look at my phantom anniversary as a chance to appreciate what I had. No regrets, no recriminations, just love and (hopefully) lessons learned.