When I was pregnant with Wonderbaby, I lost my wedding ring. It was late in the pregnancy, and my fingers were swollen, so I removed it and (I thought) tucked it safely away, with every intention of putting it on a gold chain or something so that I could keep wearing it.
I never saw it again.
It was something that I had hoped never to lose. My mother had it – and my husband’s matching band – handmade from gold from my great-grandmother’s collection as her wedding gift to us. It was the only thing that I had of my great-grandmother’s, and the most precious of our wedding gifts, not to mention, you know, the crafted symbol of our undying love. And I lost it.
I wore a cool Frank Gehry-designed Tiffany ring in its place until very recently. It – the Gehry ring – was explicitly not a conventional wedding band; it was just a pretty, shiny placeholder for the treasured ring that my husband kept assuring me we would find. When we moved house, shortly after Wonderbaby’s second birthday – more than two years since I had lost the ring – we finally gave up looking. It was gone.
My husband bought me a replacement ring for Valentine’s Day this year. It’s very pretty, a simple white-gold band with a sparkly row of diamonds across the top. Conventionally wedding-bandy, without being too traditional, and evocative of the simple gold band that my mother had crafted for us. If you put my husband’s left hand alongside my own and noticed our rings, you would think that they each had probably been purchased or made with the other in mind. That they weren’t – that there are years and histories that divide these two rings – would only be apparent to someone who knew the saga of the ring that formerly dwelt upon my left ring-finger. Even then, they might not notice. A ring is a ring is ring, after all, and one band – whether it be treasured hand-me-down gold or jagged high-design silver or brand-new and sparkly – is not all that different from another.
A ring is a ring is a ring. And the loss of that first, most precious ring – the first piece of jewellry that I ever really treasured as something whose whole value was greater than the sum of its market-evaluated parts – taught me that what was precious was not the ring itself, but everything that it symbolized. Which, I know, trite, but still: I was able to lose that ring and not feel that I’d lost some part of myself. My marriage, my love for my husband, my mother’s love for me, the memory of my great-grandmother: those were, and are, all things that live and breathe and flourish beyond the ring. These things cannot be lost.
Someday, I’ll pass along my wedding ring – my shiny, pretty, circa-2008 ring – to my daughter, and I will tell her its story and I will tell her that it means everything – love, memory, loss – and nothing. That its importance – before it comes into her possession, while she carries it with her, and long after she loses it – resides only in its idea, in the thought of it as a symbol of all those things that I will tell her about, that she will learn about, and that that idea, that thought, those things, can be carried in her heart, their weight beyond gold.
I have no picture of that ring, and this was supposed to be a photo-centric post, so. In lieu of, I inserted pictures of some of my other favorite things. My antique Lopburi monkey oil painting, my library table, one of my two cats, a photo of my grandma on her wedding day, the squirrel who’s been suntanning outside my kitchen window. You know, stuff I love.
None of which I love as much as this, though:
As I noted yesterday, instead of a straight-up Friday Flashback, today is a kind of Friday Flashback/Friday Foto Frenzy combo – a photo-centric post that may or may not involve a flashback (although bonus points are awarded for keeping it flashback-y.) The topic: “My Favorite Thing,” or “These Are A Few Of… etc” (in case you have more than one.) Self-explanatory: what object (or objects) in your home is your favorite thing, the thing that you would be most likely to grab first in a fire, the thing that you gaze upon and murmur, lovingly, MINE? Bonus points if it’s something from your youth or childhood. (Inspiration from Mama Tulip, who was probably inspired by someone else, which is how this stuff usually works.) Let me know if you do it, so that I can come check your stuff out.
Other posts this morning (note – this list is NOT comprehensive – I’m limited in my capacity to update links these days, tho’ I’ll try to add more as I can, but anyhoo: this baby’s round-robin, which means follow the links for more links and more links and so on and so forth):