Monday, September 14, 2009

Goodbye Rings

I am on my way to begin the process of selling my wedding rings. This has been a difficult decision for me and one I did not take lightly.

My husband proposed on Lake Washington 4 and a half years ago. We were celebrating our 3-year anniversary together. On the way up from Oregon, I remember asking him if he was ever going to marry me. We already had a son and he was just about to celebrate one-year of sobriety.

In many ways I felt I had let my family down by getting pregnant out of wedlock. I had already left my first husband and was suddenly at the right time for me to have a baby but I was not with the right person.

Early in my relationship with J., I became pregnant. It was a nightmare for me in almost everyway. Luckily, I did have an easy pregnancy but I remember so many sleepless nights crying my eyes out and waiting for J. to come home.

When we met, I was in my mid-twenties and still having a good time quite a bit myself. It was quickly apparent that he had a drinking problem once I stopped drinking. I wrote my future father-in-law a letter, shocked with my discovery. He told me I wasn't telling him anything he didn't already know.

In any case, we did stay together through most of that time and I was thrilled when he became sober about a year after our son was born.

The night before he proposed, we watched some corny wedding movie and I started crying about us never getting married.

Little did I know that the next day he had rented this beautiful old restored wooden boat for us with a picnic lunch and champagne for me. He got on one knee and produced a ring 3 diamonds, (past-present-future) totaling about 2.5 carats. It was much bigger than I had ever expected. It was the perfect proposal in every way, but it was not an indicator of the life to come for us.

On our wedding day he produced another surprise. A band consisting of another 4 carats. The two rings together were stunning. Once again, we had a perfect wedding. Everything went on without a hitch. Even my father-in-law was on good behavior. But all the happiness and pretty things surrounding that occassion were in no way indicative of the life we had together later.

For many years those rings have been sort of a security blanket for me. But I think big diamonds and beautiful jewelry can also mask other things. For a long time, everyone thought my husband was a "good guy" because he gave me pretty things. The over-the-top-ness of it all really covered up a lot of other BS. Being a good partner to someone has nothing to do with the gifts that you give them. Gifts are a nice perk, but they shouldn't overshadow everything else.

It was nice to hear a friend tell me several weeks ago - Hey, it's good to see you without your rings on. I think she saw it as a sign of my own inner strength.

I think it's easy to get up with diamonds and designer bags and shoes and let those things tell people who we are. They are an instant status boost. But when it comes down to it those things are really not who I am.

I remember a conversation with my sister several years ago where she told me I think you are the most misunderstood person I know. I'm deeper than what meets the eye. I have all these symbols that defy me.

But part of me is still sad to see the rings go. It is the last testament of a promise that was not kept. Or many promises that were not kept.

But the bottom line is I need the money now. So off I go to sell the rings.

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