I have had that ring on my finger for six years now — seven if you count from our engagement. It had become a part of me, my wedding ring — like it was attached. This piece of jewelry on my finger revealed a new life — marriage. It was the originator of Paul and I’s commitment and love for each other — and it was always there. Until I looked down and it wasn’t.
As I took off my gloves and looked down at my hand, I gasped. While we were trick or treating, I had removed those gloves several times to take pictures. Had I not been wearing gloves, I would have noticed that ring missing well before then. But there was something about the unusual feeling of the gloves that made me not realize it was gone.
Immediately, I was overtaken with heartache. While I frantically went on a rampage (along with the rest of my family) searching for it, so many thoughts came rushing through me.
I remember the day Paul’s shaking hand held it out for me and asked me to be his forever. It was simple and sweet and completely us. I stared down at my finger for days at the beauty of that ring — it was beyond perfect to me. At that time, I had no idea the amount of love it would encounter on my finger.
Like the day we paired it with the wedding band and promised ourselves to each other in front of all our loved ones. It was a perfect (and ironically 70 degree) day in November. I am sure there were things that I thought at the time could have gone smoother but honestly, I don’t remember them now. I just remember the love of my life sliding that ring on my finger and us saying “I do,” and being overcome with excitement to be wearing that ring that started our journey together as husband and wife.
From celebrating new firsts as a married couple, to buying houses and vehicles, to career changes, we have been busy these last six years. Every weighing of pros and cons, every late-night conversation, every spreadsheet of numbers and finances, and every smile and decision we have made has been done with that ring on my finger.
It has even been there the few times that Paul and I have wanted to wring each other’s necks. Hey, this is marriage we are talking about and it isn’t always easy. But there was never a time where that ring felt as if it overstayed its welcome on my finger. Whatever it was that we were facing, that ring, like our strength to get through it, was unfailing.
As my fingers swelled the last few weeks of pregnancy with our oldest, I remember reluctantly removing that ring. But it didn’t go far, I placed it on my necklace close to my heart. And it was there when we gave birth to both of our baby girls. And I will never forget the joy I felt when I could finally fit that ring back on my finger after Maylie was born.
And through the wrestling ring of raising our girls - from diapers, crawling, first steps, tantrums, messes, pinching, potty training, middle of the night bed overtaking, hugs, learning, disciplining, kisses, and countless renditions of “Ring around the Rosie”, that ring pushed us on.
It has rocked newborns to sleep, wiped runny noses, placed bandaids on boo boos, stirred many, many bowls of mac n cheese, and rubbed sweet faces until they drifted off to sleep. There have even been a few times where I had to question what exactly was caked in between the crevices of that ring, but I always cleaned it and put it right back on my finger.
Throughout the years, we have lost very close family members, remotes, shoes, money, and at times, our minds. But that ring was always there — just like our love. And losing it made me feel a rush of insecurity — like it alone was the rock in which we built our marriage.
But its not. It never was. And it took a missing piece of jewelry — a replaceable object — for me to really step back and see that what made that ring so beautiful was not the physical appearance of it at all. The ring itself didn’t build our marriage. Quite the opposite actually, as we — this life we have created through this journey — have given that ring every cent of its worth. Without the love embedded inside that ring, it is simply a piece of pawnable material.
We did find that ring — thanks to my cousin’s good eye. And although I am grateful to have it back on my finger, it’s now clear to me that what started with a ring is now worth more than anything that money can buy.
Happy Anniversary, Pauly Wayne. I love you.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.
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