Claim Your Own Independence Day

Once, a man I had just met at a seminar casually mentioned that he was celebrating his own, personal Independence Day. When I inquired, he explained that he had decided to quit smoking 14 years ago on this day. Every year, he celebrated this choice and its related freedom.

More than two years after Pete and I split, I was walking through a lunchtime crowd back to my office and noticed that I was smiling for no particular reason. The next thought I had was of that man who had freed himself of smoking. I decided the day of the spontaneous smile would be my Independence Day from here on out. I had freed myself of the agonies of marriage and a good number of the agonies of divorce. That was worth commemorating.

What if you were to choose an Independence Day–one that signifies for you the power of your choices and the freedom you are coming home to? It could be the day you discovered the affair, the day you (or he) decided to leave, the day you signed the divorce papers, the day you could smile at him in a co-parenting hand-off and really mean it, the day you slept through the night, or your hair stopped falling out–the options are endless. All that is required is that this date has symbolic impact for you.

Once you choose it, honor that Independence Day with as much care as you cherish each child’s birthday. Because this is, in a sense, your birthday. The woman, wife and mother you once were was reborn in divorce. Give thanks to her for seeing you through.

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