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Past, Present and Future – with a little extra on the sides

Anna's Anniversary ring

So, at about our 5 year wedding anniversary, we were swamped still with medical bills that resulted due to Brighid’s premature birth.  We had moved from Southern NJ to Central FL, we were in a very nice home, but we were strapped.  To honor our fifth wedding anniversary, we phoned to see about staying one night at the Grand Floridian in Disney World – something special, something we would never normally do, and something we thought we could afford.  When it came down to it, the rate per night was about what we were spending on two weeks worth of groceries, so we ended up having dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant, Ran Getsu, instead.

On our 10th wedding anniversary, I was recovering from my c-section, having just given birth to Eilis 3 weeks prior.  We obviously couldn’t plan to go away anywhere or do anything too big.  I had a 3 week old baby that was nursing, and we had Brighid, and by that time, we were living in South Florida, too far to just leave the kids with grandparents and get away for a few hours.  Whatever we did had to include both kids and not cost too much, because we had just spent a bunch of money on all new baby stuff, and we had just planned a large Christening party.  We ended up at lunch at Red Lobster, because Jim didn’t want to go at dinner, when it would be busy and the baby might be a nuisance to the other diners.

For our 15th wedding anniversary, we decided to do something really special if we could find a sitter for 3 kids.  My sister Megan and her friend Karen agreed to watch them.  Well, Megan agreed, but dragged poor Karen in for backup.  The hotel where we spent our wedding night was not far from Megan’s house, so we dropped the kids off late Saturday afternoon and went to the Marriott in Crystal City, Virginia.  They gave us a gorgeous room – a suite with a living room and a separate bedroom.  Upon arrival, there was a bottle of champagne and a tray of chocolate covered strawberries.  We debated going to the restaurant for dinner, but decided to relax and order room service.  The dinner was great!   For breakfast, we ordered our same breakfast from the day after our wedding – steak and eggs.  Delicious.  But, it was over so quickly.  We picked the kids up around 10 on Sunday morning and headed home.  We’ll have to try and do this again for our 20th anniversary – but a little longer than 18 hours.

I am one of those people who believes in advertising, and it was just around our 10th wedding anniversary that I decided I NEEDED an anniversary band.  Very popular at the time were the diamond rings that had three stones – one for your past, one for your present, and one for your future.  I loved the commercials for those rings, and just before my 10th anniversary, Jim took me to Safian and Rudolph to look at the rings.  Well, up close and personal, I didn’t love them as much as the price tags made me feel like I should, and I felt like we had way more pressing things going on.  So when the lady that was helping us suggested instead of an anniversary band that we re-tool my engagement ring – like maybe adding two smaller stones to the sides of it to give it that past, present and future.  I thought that would work, and then my husband got wind of the plan and just about had a fit.  The engagement ring is really important to him, and it hurt his feelings that I would even consider changing it.  He did jot down the stock numbers of two rings I liked, but were pricey, and we left the store.

I’ve lost a lot of weight recently, and had to have my wedding and engagement rings resized.  We went back to Safian and Rudolph, rings in tow, and they said they could have my rings resized and ready to go in time for my 16th wedding anniversary on March 9th.  On March 9th, in we went, baby in tow, and my wedding and engagement rings were done and fit perfectly.  Woohoo!   As I turned to leave, Jim handed our salesman a piece of paper and asked him if they had whatever was on the paper.  On that paper were the two rings I had seen 6 years ago. 

They did not have those rings by those stock numbers anymore, but the salesman checked around and pulled out one ring pretty much identical to one of the rings on the paper, and he pulled out another one that was similar to the other ring on the paper.  Then he pulled out two trays of rings and had me browse through them.  Jim kept saying to pick a couple that I liked and if the time ever came in the future that he was going to buy one, he’d have an idea of what I liked.  The one ring I chose, and loved, was the same one I chose 6 years ago.  It had three marquis shaped diamonds – one for our past, present and future – and it had two pear shaped diamonds on each end – the same shape as the main stone in my engagement ring.  It was beautiful, but a little expensive.  The other ring I chose reminded me of Jim’s wedding ring.  It had three round diamonds, but in between it had two baguettes, side by side, and the shape was very much like Jim’s wedding ring.  It was also less expensive.

So, I told Jim and the salesman that I had narrowed the selection down to those two rings, and Jim promptly turned to the salesman, and to me, and said whichever one I wanted, I could have!!   Well, after picking myself up from the floor, I chose the one that I had loved those 6 years ago, the marquis diamonds with the pears on the ends.  The salesman applauded my decision, calling it a gorgeous ring, and then pointed out that with the three marquis diamonds, if I wanted to down the road, I could make a piece of jewelry for each of my three daughters.  The ring had to be resized and cleaned up, and the guy said it would be ready in a week.

To say my head was spinning is an understatement.  I came out of the store almost in tears, thinking about how much our bathroom remodel is going to cost, and thinking of the clothes I need now that I have none that fit me.  Jim was disappointed that I wasn’t so excited I was floating. 

Yesterday was the day the ring was ready.  I can’t even describe how gorgeous it is.  And now that I have three daughters, I look at it and it represents my whole family – three stones for each of the girls and the two pears on the ends for Jim and I.  It brings tears to my eyes to look at it – not because it cost money I think we should have spent on something else – but because it’s so beautiful, and it’s so ironic that 6 years ago, I would have picked out a ring that would have significance once our family was complete.  If I think back to the day I got married, and the words the priest used regarding our wedding rings – a circle, with no beginning and no end, just like our love for each other – this ring means the same thing.  The difference between this one and my wedding ring is that the circle, with no beginning and no end, just like our love for each other, represents all of us, not just Jim and I.  It’s so special, this ring.  I know it won’t ever mean as much to Jim as it does to me, but I hope some day, when it is shared with my daughters, it means this much to them.