We bought my wedding band at Zales, in the mall, another thing checked-off on the way to the alter. We were only kids.
I had it soldered to my, equally inexpensive and simple, engagement ring, shortly after we were married, so that it would stop spinning around my finger.
It broke off, five or six years into this adventure we’re on, and now sits in a jewelry box in the basement, somewhere. (I’m pretty sure.)
In the past month, I’ve lost my engagement ring. It’s the second or third time in the history of our marriage that I’ve done this, and I’m considering just going to tattoo my finger at this point, instead.
The first time I lost it, I felt the loss.
We had only been married three or four years, had a baby and were in the midst of an ocean of uncertainty, just trying to stay afloat – two miscarriages, living in my old bedroom at my parents’ house. We were between jobs, between houses, between children.
Really, looking back, we were between lives.
We were at the very start of shedding our newlywed, new-parents skins, and becoming who would would be. Who we are, still, today.
Back there, in that moment of our history, I felt the loss of the ring, like it mattered, like my hands were naked without the slight weight of it around the bone of my finger.
And, time passes.
“There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is suffering too terrible to name
You can hold your child as tight as you can
And push away the unimaginable
The moments when you’re in so deep
It feels easier to just swim down.”
We listen to Hamilton, a lot. (Some might say, obsessively.)
It’s a fascinating story of struggle and triumph, of weakness and strength, of forgiveness.
So much forgiveness.
He has an affair. His wife carries that, quietly, remarkably without much note in the history books on how she responded.
But, she stayed. She loved. She forgave.
He knew of his son going to a duel to defend his own honor. Their son died.
And she stayed. She loved. She forgave.
Out of the blue, Vinnie will text me the words from the musical: Forgiveness. Can you imagine?
And I’ll know that he’s somewhere, with a tear on his cheek. Because he cries, every time.
And I do too.
You see, our marriage has been through more than just lost wedding rings.
Rings are metal and stone. They’re (breakable, loseable) symbols.
Our marriage has weathered moments that the words can’t reach. Moments that we’ve kept to ourselves entirely. Moments that transcend anything symbolic or simple or easily explained.
I’ve done things that could have broken us. He has, too.
And the ring, it’s only a thing.
We’re here, because, forgiveness.
Yesterday, I sat on the couch after eleven hours of working the day before, very little sleep, and then shooting and working all morning. I was hormonal, hangry and slangry (that’s sleep-angry, for anyone who isn’t familiar). And in my house, it was a cacophony of video game noises, children shrieking, dogs barking.
I bristled. I snipped – at the kids. At him.
Vinnie bristled back. Do you need to eat something? Do you need a nap?
I bit my tongue. I breathed, but could not look at him.
And…he softened. He forgave.
Do you need a back rub?
Navigating the the small moments, every bit as important as the big ones. I need forgiveness in my misophonia-hangry-slangry- fueled moments, just as much as I ever have in our bigger, I am ashamed and terrified, but we need to have this conversation – moments.
Now, closing in on fourteen years of marriage, I think of my ring, only because it isn’t here to put on.
It’s a missing piece of a routine, but, I feel no loss.
No one needs to know the ins-and-outs of where we’ve been, or the confessional conversations we’ve had, the choices we’ve made to still hold hands and be here, together.
I think, now, I’m feeling the distance between the child I was – pointing out a dainty channel cut diamond band from a display case at the mall (completely, blissfully, unaware of how much need for I’m sorry there is still, after the vows) and the woman and wife I am today.
I’m seeing the distance between who Vinnie was then, and the man he is now – who still holds my hand, holds my heart, who reaches across the console in the car and cries with me, listening to Quiet Uptown.
Forgiveness. Can you imagine?
Yes. And it’s the very best part.