A dear friend has recently begun keeping a blog about her journey as the wife and caregiver of a stroke survivor. We have shared tea, laughter, and books together, and I have enjoyed her hospitality on numerous occasions. She has survived the perils of a blended family and homeschooled three of her five children with admirable success. My friend has graciously allowed me to reprint one of her posts here for your encouragement. To read more of her story, please get better acquainted with her at her own blog, Strokeman's Woman.
One day while exercising at the pool I saw something blue on the bottom that turned out to be a plastic ring. The first thought was, of course, how much my granddaughters were going to enjoy having another accessory to wear with the ballet costumes they love to play in when they are visiting my house. But then, for some reason I found myself remembering a ring of much more value and beauty – my daughter-in-law’s engagement ring. When my son had been dating her for a while, I began to realize how much I loved this young woman, and how sad I would be if it turned out that she would not become a part of my family. So it was with great joy that I agreed to my son’s request to go with him to help pick out her engagement ring.
My love for Jenny was not the only reason I was overjoyed by this invitation. My son and I have not always seen eye to eye. When I married his father, he was 10 and was not too keen on another woman coming into his life. During his high school years things didn’t improve all that much. (I can remember him telling me once that the same brand of orange juice tasted better at his friends house.) In all fairness, my mothering and housekeeping skills left much to be desired. At any rate, any time he and I have a chance to really enjoy being together I find it to be a great treasure. It was a lot of fun to go with him to the different stores, learn things about the different grades of diamonds, and give my opinion on which I thought were the most unique and beautiful. It is a wonderful memory for me.
Interestingly enough this experience spurred one of the most heated arguments Strokeman and I had in our later years of marriage. Strokeman is adamantly opposed to spending much money on a ring. My engagement ring is a very inexpensive piece of jewelry with a small emerald and tiny diamonds. I love it because it came to me from a man I love who wrote a poem about the green of my eyes that were symbolized by the green of the emerald. But it is not the kind of ring that brings envy to other wives.
When I came home from our shopping trip, Strokeman expressed to me again his disdain for expensive engagement rings. I tried to explain to him that an engagement ring is something that will be worn for the rest of a woman’s life. It needs to be quality enough to last, and something that is in the realm of what the young lady in question would be likely to choose for herself. He ended up saying something like, “I thought you liked the ring I picked out for you,” and I ended up crying and saying I guessed I would never get a diamond ring. What a mess.
A few months later Strokeman bought me a diamond ring that was on sale at JCPenney. It was beautiful, but after a year or two one of the diamonds fell out, and to fix it would cost more than we spent on the ring to begin with. There was a part of me that was relieved, because every time I looked at it on my finger I remembered how silly I had been about the whole thing. I am so content to stick to my emerald engagement ring that I have spent more than it is worth to have fixed once. When it dies again, I guess I will be content to just wear my band.
It’s funny the things that seem so important when all else is going pretty well. Now, after having been through the stuff we have been through, diamond rings seem to be so not important. How stupid to waste words over such trivial things. Rings don’t make a wedding into a marriage. Their price doesn’t make it easier to weather the ups and downs that come from being connected to another human being. That being said, it is nice to realize that there were times in our marriage when the biggest issue between us was the value of a piece of jewelry. We have these moments to remember.
Many thanks, Strokeman's Woman, for allowing me to share a piece of your story here. I'm thankful to know you and to continue to learn from you.
Crumbles, may the rest of your week be filled with laughter, love, and genuine gratitude, whether you will be celebrating Thanksgiving with us in the U.S.A. or not.