Monday, October 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Rings (The Lesson I Learned When I Lost My Wedding Ring)

We were married on a whim. The decision came to us on a plane en route to Dominica. “You want to?” he asked. “Sure!” I answered.

Without a plan or a care in the world, we made the arrangements to marry on our very first vacation together. We strolled through the market place in search of silver rings. 

We exchanged our vows in casual cloths by a waterfall in the courtyard of the hotel for all guests to see. 

When I returned to work as a newly married woman, I told one of my co-workers. Before congratulating me, she demanded to “see the ring.” I explained that it was unplanned and held up my hand with my silver ring that was too big.  

“Oh…well, congratulations,” she said. But I could tell that she thought I was cheated out of a princess cut diamond ring like the one on her finger. (She was divorced the following year.)


A year later on our 1st year anniversary, The Husband and I threw a wedding reception. The party was for our family. I just wanted the pretty dress. But even that day was low key. 

It was on that day - our 1 year wedding anniversary that we were supposed to exchange rings once again. The Husband picked them out, really. I wanted to go to the local jewelry store but he did his homework. He found this Japanese jewelry store in Soho. We picked out our rings and had them engraved. 

Mine: He won me over

His: She wore me down.

On the day of our anniversary party, we meant to exchange/renew our vows. But we got so caught up with family and friends and the dancing, eating and celebrating - we never did. At the end of the evening, when it was just us - we exchanged rings. No vows or words were said. Just our rings and a kiss. 

1 year wedding anniversary June 2004

As I sat on the floor of my hotel room, unpacking my suitcase and shaking out my clothes searching for my ring for the 20th time, I wondered: How could I lose my wedding ring? Where could it be

I searched the room and all of my bags. I checked under the beds and behind the toilet. I even took a cup and turned it upside down before looking one last time - it's an old wives tale someone shared with me. I asked the cleaning woman and reported it to the hotel. No ring.

I thought of The Husband, home with The Boy so that I could attend a blog conference. It's because of The Husband's commitment to me and our family, that allows me to do what I do. Without his support, I couldn't do it.

As I sat in the hotel lobby on Sunday morning with my suitcases packed, staring at my naked hand, I started to cry. 
I thought of my flight from New York to Atlanta - how with every bump of rough air I clasped my hands and looked at my ring. How could I get back on a plane to New York without it?  

Hours later, I walked out of LaGuardia airport and was greeted by The Husband and The Boy. Both were happy to see me. And I was happier to see them. 

By then The Husband knew I lost my ring and he was upset but he helped me put things in perspective. "That's not the ring I first put on your finger. The original ring means more to me."  

Both rings have a sentimental value to me for different reasons. When he offered to buy me a new ring, I refused. I don't want a new ring. I want my ring.

Later that afternoon, before heading out to lunch I slipped on the silver ring - my original wedding band and smiled. It's still too big and the ring guard annoys me but it's mine. I still wanted my other ring but I was grateful I had at least one. A ring is a ring - it means everything and yet ultimately it means nothing. 

Last June we celebrated ten years of marriage. It's been a decade of highs and lows. Our marriage is far from perfect. There are days we wear each other down and days we win each other over. We laugh, we love, we fight, we move on. 

A wedding ring is symbol of our commitment but it's not the thing that binds us and keeps us together. Our love does that.

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.