Today is my fourteenth anniversary. My husband and I have been married for 14 years, together for 19 years, and met each other almost 21 years ago. It sounds crazy when I think about it in terms of numbers and actual time.
We stopped buying anniversary gifts for each other years ago. We’d rather spend the money on a shared experience – an amazing dinner or a trip without the kids. And truth be told, gifts are not the strong point of our relationship – except for one that I was reminded of this morning when I was at a Disney Parks event celebrating the opening of the newly redone Fantasyland and they gave us a Mickey Mouse watch as a parting gift.
The first time I went to Disney World I was 6 years old. I loved it. I was a Disney kid – and since this was before VCRs, my experience with Disney was in the movie theater. When there was a rerelease of classic Disney films we were there. Disney world was only 7 years old when I visited, having just opened in 1971. So, in many ways it was a brand new kind of place for everyone who visited, but for a 6-year-old, movie addict girl, walking through Cinderella’s Castle was truly a magical experience.
I can tell you exactly what I bought as souvenirs that first time at Disney World: A Snow White figurine, a mug with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves painted on it, and a Cinderella watch. The first two items traveled with me from home to home my whole life and now are displayed in my daughters’ room. The last item, the watch, which I irrationally loved, was stolen by a housekeeper who also stole real jewelry from my mom and our bathroom rugs. True story.
My Disney figurine collection grew over the years since I was lucky enough to return to Disney World many, many times. Yes, we were/are one of those Disney-fan families. But, I never got over the loss of that watch. It had way too much sentimental value, and was the earliest thing I can remember truly appreciating owning.
I told this story to my husband pretty early on in our relationship. I don’t even know how it came up. He was probably horrified that I still had my figurine collection (not displayed – I wasn’t that bizarre) and I was trying to explain why Disney was meaningful to me. I never got over losing that watch. And I never replaced it because they just weren’t the same.
Then one day my husband (who was not my husband yet) presented me with a gift for our dating anniversary. And there it was, my Cinderella watch.
How did he find it? Well, a little start-up called Ebay made it all possible. And while it’s not MY watch (mine had a light blue band) it is the SAME watch. The mid-70’s Cinderella watch that I loved and lost.
So it was so fitting that I started my anniversary day celebrating the relaunch of Fantasyland at Disney World with the Disney Parks people, and will end my day having dinner out with my husband who remembered a tiny thing I mentioned in passing and made it into the best, most romantic gift ever.