I’m not the most organized person, but I certainly attempt to take care of valuable possessions and I consider myself a routine-oriented individual. Every night for five years—minus a few days that I wore a different ring to match other accessories—I have taken my wedding band and engagement ring off only to sleep. I put them in the same place every night—in a ring box on top of my dresser.
Yesterday morning when I got out of the shower, put lotion on my hands, and reached for my wedding rings—which I do every morning—they weren’t there. And panic set in.
I racked my brains. I had them on yesterday, I said to myself. I remember twirling them around my finger at work. Oh God, they are really loose since I lost weight. Did they fall off? Did I take them off at the gym? Did I throw them out? Where are they?
I looked all over my bedroom, but because I was late for work, I had to stop. I thought about it all day.
I’ve never been a materialistic person. I’ve never been into fashion, purses or shoes. I don’t like to spend money—I’d rather save it. And pretty much everything I have, save some pictures and mementos from relatives who have passed on before me, I wouldn’t mind losing. Most of my possessions are exactly that: possessions. Even the wedding band I lost, which my husband placed on my finger in front of our family, friends and God on June 21, 2008, is not really sentimental to me because I picked it out.
But my engagement ring, people? I thought about it all day. It’s expensive. But that’s not really why I thought about it.
I closed my eyes and remembered St. Patrick’s Day 2007, when my then-boyfriend and I went to my favorite place, Magic Kingdom, together. Just us. It’s been a long time since we’ve been just us. I remembered the girl I was, with all my dreams in front of me, just within my grasp. I reminisced on all the days I spent picturing a fairy tale wedding and a life with my prince charming. I remembered sitting on the rides together, the cool air, the dinner we had with Disney characters around us, the holding hands and laughing. And then…
In front of hundreds of people. After the sun went down. Fireworks above us. My parents watching.
I would never get that back. The ring he picked out when he was just 21 years old. The ring he shopped for, with his dad beside him to give him advice. The ring he thought would look best on me. The ring he sized and carried in his pocket all day and then put on me before saying, “Will you be my wife?”
I would never get that back.
I tried not to cry. I tried to tell myself I would find it. I tried to tell myself that even if I didn’t, my husband wouldn’t be mad and it would be okay. In light of recent events in the lives of those I know and even those (like in DC) that I don’t know, I couldn’t justify allowing this to upset me. There is so much tragedy in the world. Losing a ring is not a tragedy.
But it still made me sad.
And it made me remember. Which made me sadder.
You see, if I’m being honest, our five years of marriage have not been the easiest years of my life. Our first two years, spent learning each other’s ways and getting acclimated to new careers and making our house into a home, I remember fondly. We adopted a dog, we went out to dinner and movies every weekend, we played games, we enjoyed each other. But then came pregnancy. Which was awful on me and awful on our relationship. Then came baby. Which took a lot of learning and sacrifice and time away from focusing on our relationship. In the last year, we’ve finally gone back to the beginning. The baby is (slightly) more self-sufficient—at least enough that my husband and I can converse over dinner and sleep through the night—and I’ve grown more accepting of the fact that he can survive if we leave him with a babysitter to spend time together.
We’re finally getting back to us.
And then I lose a precious token that reminds me of where we started, of what I meant to my husband, of the commitment we both made to each other.
And it really hurt.
So I did what anyone in my position would do. I tore my house apart. With my mom’s help, I removed sheets and turned over mattresses. I looked in drains. I examined bags and bags of garbage and gagged while doing it. I emptied each drawer of my dresser, moved couch cushions, used a flashlight, took my jewelry box apart and turned it upside down just in case something got stuck inside, I called my gym and then went there to comb every bathroom stall, changing room and exercise machine I walked by, I cleaned my car. My mom went through each and every toy bin that belongs to my son.
And I gave up.
And I cried.
I just couldn’t believe it. Unless my dog ate it or someone stole it, I had no other explanation. My rings were gone. Both of them. And I had to surmise that it was my fault. They wouldn’t fall off together without my noticing. So I had taken them off. I had given them up.
I posted a Facebook status praying to Saint Anthony. I messaged a friend of mine who has a strange gift for locating lost items. I told my mother-in-law, who prayed, “God, just put it in a familiar place for Shannon.”
Last night, before putting the baby in his bath, I walked back into my room. I stood at the dresser, trying so hard to remember the night before. I came home from the gym, played with the baby, took a shower, then gave the baby a bath. I remembered that when I killed a mosquito after the baby’s bath, I didn’t have my rings on because I looked at my fingers and they were all red from clapping the mosquito. When and where did I take them off?
I started taking everything off my dresser one more time. And as I looked down, there they were. Next to a necklace I lifted up multiple times that day. Next to the jewelry box I had already taken apart. Next to all of the items my mom specifically placed on my bed. On the dresser I dusted and wiped.
Sitting there, staring at me.
Like someone placed them there.
I went first with logic. My husband did it. He found them and then put them there for me. But he swears he didn’t. Then I thought my mom did it. And she said she would never put me through something like that.
Your guess is as good as mine. They were just there. And if I had a video camera in my room taping my crazy behavior over the last 24 hours, you could see that THEY. WERE. NOT. THERE. That I tore that dresser apart from the top down and the bottom up. That I took EVERYTHING off of it.
But there they were.
My students think there’s a ghost in my house. And if there is, I’m okay with that.
I have my rings back, and I had a day to really reflect not only on what the rings mean to me, but also what my marriage means to me. It’s priceless.