I had been married at least twenty years. I can't remember where I was or why I noticed, but much to my horror I discovered the diamond was missing from my engagement ring. I immediately tried to retrace my steps (just for the day, not the entire twenty years), but the stone was nowhere to be found. For days I searched my house, my car, my pants pockets; everywhere I went, I searched. Eventually, my obsession with finding the diamond died down and I gave up.
Fast forward (months? years? I don't remember how long): I was cleaning my laundry room and pulled out the washer and dryer to clean the floors. (Trust me, this isn't a regular habit of mine...I'm pretty sure it was the only time I've ever done that.) For some reason...instinct or divine intervention...I decided that rather than simply sweeping up the piles of debris, I would actually search through the dust bunnies (and quite possibly actual bunny carcasses) to search for lost treasures. And there amidst the filth was a shiny object smaller than a pencil eraser. A really tiny pencil eraser. Could it be? I was giddy with excitement! I showed my husband, but he wasn't convinced it was my diamond. Maybe he was under the misconception that he had bought me a bigger stone. But I pulled out my engagement ring setting, placed the mini jewel on top of the broken prongs, and bingo! It was a match. I set the pieces aside, unsure if I really wanted to spend the cash to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. After all, if my husband thought my original diamond was bigger than the stone I had found, didn't I owe it to him to repair my ring with a better representation of his love for me?
Time went by (again...months? years? I have no idea), and it was Christmas. My granddaughter had been hinting at a surprise that her grandfather had for me. And yes, you guessed it. Presented to me all shiny and pretty again was my engagement ring! But the diamond in it now, if you believe it could even be possible, was smaller than before. When my husband had taken it to the jeweler to have the stone reset, he learned that what he had in his possession wasn't a real diamond. The jeweler claimed it couldn't be the original stone because it was too large for my setting, but I think that was only because the prongs had broken off. No matter, I had my ring back.
Now the question remains: Was the stone I found beneath my dryer the one that had been in my ring? If so, my husband was ripped off by the jewelry store where it was purchased. If not, what was it and where was it from? Life is full of mystery. Or something.
Now that we've taken the scenic route, let's get back to the point of the story. Why didn't I replace my engagement diamond with a larger one? I'm sentimental. I also have a difficult time parting with clothing and toys my children have outgrown. I can't part with clothes I've outgrown, either. Something to do with remembering a time when I was younger and thinner (I also heard someone say this on a show about hoarding--we'll save that topic for another day). And there has never been a photo so bad that I could bear to throw it away. I like to have something tangible to go along with my memories.
My engagement and wedding rings are a reminder of all the years my husband and I have spent together. Good times and bad. They are reminders of where we started and the journey we've taken since. They were chosen 28 years ago by my then-boyfriend, who totally surprised me when he got down on one knee and proposed. I remember the moment when marriage was no longer just an abstract idea, and I had to decide if I was ready to commit to spending the rest of my life with this one man. Those rings have been with me during childbirth, tragedies, heartbreak, joy, sadness, loneliness, and everything else life has given us. My rings have experienced more air travel than I have due to the countless times I've thrown them across one room or another in a fit of anger. They remind me most of all that God sent me one special man... not a perfect one, but one handpicked just for me. Sometimes I need a visual reminder of that. And sometimes I just need something to throw.