The Anniversary Curse


The Anniversary CurseWhen I was young and dumb, and before I was married, I imagined anniversaries and holidays to be very different from how they’ve been. I imagined going all-out to celebrate every holiday and anniversary, and I thought things would be storybook perfect, but the reality is that we don’t live in a storybook. We live in reality and for us, reality is that we are bound to have someone sick or hurt when it comes to special occasions.

We laughed the first few years of marriage, heck even before getting married. You see, two weeks before we got married, I was hospitalized with swine flu, then put on bed rest until two days before my wedding. I remember insisting that the doctor write my now husband a prescription for Tamiflu because I was determined not to have our wedding ruined by swine flu. I guess the downside of having the fall wedding you dreamed of is getting married during flu/sick season. On our first anniversary, I felt so drained, but I pushed myself to walk the entirety of Rock City, only to find myself worse that night and at the doctor being diagnosed with mono the next morning.

The craziness only grew once we had kids, so much so, that we called it “The Anniversary Curse.”

Sick kids, emergency room visits, hospital or doctor office trips, appendicitis for my husband…the list goes on…so the running joke is that we had an anniversary curse.

The problem was that bad things weren’t happening just on our anniversary anymore; they were happening on holidays and special occasions too. The reality is that when you have kids, the bigger the chance of one of them being sick on a holiday or special occasion. We have canceled many holiday plans due to someone (or several of us) being sick. We have learned to roll with the punches and take advantage of the times when no one is sick. We are so grateful for the times we can attend gatherings because we know that sometimes we can’t, not because we don’t want to, but because we have a sick little one.

We have learned that it doesn’t matter how careful we are, how much we sanitize, wash our hands, and lock ourselves away from society…someone will still end up sick at some point no matter what. So what do we do? Well, we are prepared for canceled plans at any time and happy when plans work out; we spend special occasions together as a family so if one of us can’t go, the majority of the time none of us go (that way we can be together and no one feels left out); and we have make-up days. Just like schools have make-up snow days, we have make-up days for holidays. We go see family once everyone is well, we delay anniversary plans for a time when we are able to get away for even just a meal without kids, and we make sure to have time together. And finally, we have learned that being flexible makes for a better holiday or occasion when things didn’t go as planned.

Yes, having sick kids on a holiday is no fun, but don’t let that ruin the whole occasion. Instead, learn to make lemons into lemonade as a family.