Symbols of Commitment

I follow a journalist on Facebook, John Gray, who lives and reports on my old stomping ground in upstate NY. I like his sense of humor, his heartfelt posts and his views in general. Yesterday, he posted a link to this read on Scary Mommy regarding wedding rings. He asked what the women who follow him thought about this woman's point of view. 

I have received three new rings. 

My first engagement ring I returned to my now-husband a few months after he gave it to me. We didn't break up as a couple but simply backed off from moving on to the next step in our relationship. I told everyone we had gotten disengaged. There were reasons, mostly external, for this but the bottom line was it had nothing to do with our commitment to one another.  After almost a year, he proposed a second time with the same ring. This time it stuck :) 

I LOVED the ring he gave me. The only direction I ever gave him was in the shape of the diamond I preferred. He ended up choosing the diamond separate from the band and had the jeweler mount it in the setting. My ring is gold with little tiny flowers and leaves etched around it. It was a surprising choice from him as he is not overtly romantic but clearly he remembered I loved flowers and found a way to combine these two things that meant alot to me. 

We were living with another couple at this time and they became engaged not long after we did. Unlike us, our friends choose to buy the engagement ring together. We went along with them and while looking around struck up a conversation with a sales clerk who suggested we could trade in my diamond for a newer, larger one (paying the difference of course!) My soon to be husband looked at me and said "Let's do it. Old diamond had bad juju." So that's what we did.

Like the wife in the article, my ring has been through some serious sh#*.  House moves, job changes, pregnancies, health emergencies. On top of life moments to lowest of lows - mine, his and ours. Screaming, laughing, crying, singing, late into the night conversations. My ring has flown on planes, sailed on ships, been on long, long car rides. My ring has been in foreign countries and swam in various oceans and lakes. It has created and cleaned and performed the minutia that makes up life. And like the woman who wears it, it shows its age. Those pretty etched flowers have worn away. Only those underneath the wrap that is my wedding band are still visible. 

Last November my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We had just uprooted our family and moved 800 miles. He still works in NY and toggles back and forth between there and here. I picked him up from the airport, drove home and opened up the garage where I had hidden a used Jeep Wrangler. He had one 15 years ago but had to give it up when baby #2 came along. It had been the one thing he talked about wanting to have again, especially once we made the decision to move south. It's not fancy and needs some TLC which he has been happy to give it. 

Standing in our driveway, under a dark sky sprinkled with stars, he pulled out not one but two jewelry boxes from his suitcase. Each one contained a ring. The first was a white gold anniversary band with five diamonds. In the second was my birthstone surrounded by diamond chips on a white gold band studded with more diamond chips. Shaking, his voice trembling, he told me he would not change a single thing. He would do it all over and over and over again. If you truly knew everything he and I have faced, you would completely understand when I say how profoundly moving and reassuring his words were to me.

I had not asked for so I was certainly not expecting this new set of bands. And yet, it was the most perfect gift. New state, new house, new everything. It is somehow apropro that as we started this new adventure in our journey together, the commitment we made to not only make this huge change but to make it work, was acknowledged. 

So yes, I think there are times where upgrading a wedding ring is appropriate, symbolic and deeply emotional. 

But I have not shut my original bands away in a drawer. I, we, would not be where we are today, literally and metaphorically, if it wasn't for our past; therefore I trade off and wear them both. And, even though they are different metals, I even sometimes combine them because the symbolism of them together makes me smile.

 

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