Audrey wrote this lovely piece a few years ago and I asked her if I could borrow it,
My mom never takes off her wedding ring. Bathing, washing dishes, polishing the silver, dying her hair, painting the kitchen, gutting a turkey. The ring stays on. I would see her occasionally fidget with it, trying to pry it off. Unwillingly, it twisted up just enough to show a sun pardoned indentation, the result of twenty-eight years of solid location. Then she would slide it back into place, where it was simply another part of her finger, not a gleaming gold band.
She told me that, in her first marriage, she would take off her ring before doing any dirty or wet job. She was afraid of marring its shine or flawless surface, she said, but mostly I think she was just afraid of losing it down a drain… or up a turkey’s ass. She was staying with her in-laws while her husband was at basic training. Her mother-in-law always commented on how she would lose her ring if she kept taking it off. My mom brushed it off as one of many snarky comments. One day, before taking a shower, she took her ring off and left it on the sink. While she was in the shower, her mother-in-law came in to get something, lingered at the sink, and left. When my mom finished toweling off, she saw that the ring was gone. My mom confronted her mother-in-law, but the woman looked at my mom as if she was speaking a different language. All her mother-in-law said: “You’re nineteen years old, a mother, and a wife. You should be able to keep track of your belongings.”
My mom says that’s when she knew her marriage wouldn’t last.
I didn’t lose a lot as a child. I kept toys and books and school work, clothes and shoes and sunglasses. But I always lost rings. They’d end up at the bottom of the pool, or down the shower drain; or I would absently leave them on the sink after I washed my hands, walking away and forgetting I put them on in the first place. Sometimes I would put them on the night stand before bed, and not find them again for years.
Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, even belly rings and brocade pins always found their way back to my jewelry box. But I have lost every single ring I’ve ever owned. My mom wears one ring. And she never takes it off. As a kid, I firmly believed my mom’s ring was the strength that kept her marriage together. I was thoroughly convinced that if she lost that ring, I would lose my father.
And so, I thought that a ring would be the test for whether or not a man was to be “the one” for me. If he were to give me a ring, and I didn’t lose it immediately, he would be the keeper. And I would never take it off, because I would want to keep him forever. Just like my mom and dad’s marriage, mine would be as strong and stable as the ring on her finger.
Today is their 32nd anniversary. Like their rings, their marriage has become an irreplaceable, permanent part of their lives. Something that they can twist and maneuver, but can never take off; something that gets marred and scratched, but still gleams. Best friends, partners, parents, but most importantly, two people who love, cherish and respect one another more with every year they’re together. They’re inspiring. And I’m beyond lucky to have been raised in their example.
Happy anniversary, guys.
|We look like we're twelve!!!|