Long ago (1999), in a land far, far away (NYC), Craig and I got engaged. We had had a series of conversations about getting married and had decided that we would take the plunge, but one night while we lounged around his "Harlem" apartment (he lived on 110th, but one Halloween – Rich and Rachel were there – we got egged by kids who yelled 'Welcome to Harlem!'. I don't actually think it's officially considered Harlem.) Craig officially popped the question, I cried and said yes and there you have it, folks. A few years ago we were at a wedding where people were regaling the crowd with tales of proposals – like really great, orchestrated numbers where fifteen people are in on it and clouds get rearranged and New Kids on the Block are hired to serenade the lovers. Pretty stories, but not our style at all. Equally un-our-style and in breaking with the commercial traditionalism of weddings, we didn't do an engagement ring. Not doing an engagement ring was my decision for a few reasons – I never wore jewelry all that often and I couldn't fathom Craig spending any amount of money on a ring when we were so broke and, at the time, gearing up for a move to NC. Plus, I'd rather someone spend "two months salary" on books. So many books! So, no ring and it has never made any difference. Until.
About six months ago we were living in our crappy rented condo, looking for a house in our dream town and having a hard time. I hopped into the shower on a Saturday and when I stepped out I saw a tiny white filigreed box on the corner of the vanity that was not there when I got into the shower. Since I'm half-nutty, my first thought was that a ghost left it. Craig, unable to contain himself, peeked in the bathroom and I was all like "What IS this?" I opened it to find a perfect, dazzling diamond ring. My first thought was "Ahhh – sparkly!" and my second thought, voiced out loud, was "You have to return this, you crazy, crazy man!" Then I found out that Craig's grandmother had recently given her engagement ring to Craig's mom and she, in turn, gave her engagement ring to Craig to give to me (and, presumably, to pass on to Ella). I was speechless and teary and I've been giddy ever since. (A side story that makes it sound as if i'm collecting other people's engagement rings: I also have my Mom's engagement ring except I don't wear it that often because it's a gold setting.)
I have to say, having a ring is a lovely token and reminder of my wonderful marriage. That it has been passed down from a marriage that is over 40 years strong is also a reminder of how love endures. I also love that the ring finger is supposedly the one that leads to the heart.
Finally, I don't know if it's because the diamond is "old" or because of the way it's cut, but it is stunningly, brilliantly, mesmerizingly sparkly. Like freakishly so. Several people, some of them in possession of Princess Diana-caliber rings that actually have to ride in a sidecar next to them have told me that they can't stop looking at my ring. Me neither.