Thursday, 10 January 2013

Three Rings

I bashed my knuckle on a tap while I was cleaning the bathroom yesterday. The pain made me cringe but worse was the fact that the joint turned an alarming colour (I wish I could say purple but it was more orangey-brown!) and starting to swell up. Typically, it was the knuckle of the ring finger on my left hand - the finger that  wears my wedding, engagement and eternity rings. I had horrible visions of it swelling to the point that blood circulation would be restricted and I would have to choose between cutting off the rings or risk losing my finger. It is not a decision I would find easy.

Thankfully, the swelling did not amount to much. It stills hurts like crazy but I no longer fear for my rings (or my finger depending on which way my decision went!)

The incident did make me realise how much my rings mean to me and the happy memories entwined with each.

My husband proposed to me fairly early on into our relationship during a weekend away in Beaumaris, Wales. We had been walking along the cliffs with beautiful views of the sea and the unspoilt countryside when he dropped down on one knee and popped the question to an audience of interested sheep. The romantic moment was slightly lost on me because of my amusement that he was kneeling in sheep poo but I managed to say yes. The ring was purchased much later.

We went to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham to buy it. He had a good idea of what he was looking for and it fitted in very nicely with my own preferences. We went into jeweller after jeweller looking at dozens of rings and learning about the five C's of choosing a diamond - Clarity, Colour, Carat, Cut and of course Cost (it's too easy to get carried away and so important to stay realistic!). When I finally found a diamond I loved in a platinum setting that appealed, I couldn't commit straight away with a resounding YES. I had seen that many gems that I was becoming blinded to them and didn't entirely trust my judgement. We decided to go for a coffee and come back with fresh eyes.

The coffee shop had a rather tempting bread pudding on display. I did trust my judgement in this instance and had a sizeable chunk with my drink. It was lovely and helped to soothe and relax me and restore my own Clarity.

We went back to the shop. I took another look at the ring. It was gorgeous. I tried it on my finger. It slipped on comfortably as though it was made to be placed there. Smiling, I held my hand out to see it in all its glory. The smile slipped from my face. It just didn't seem to sparkle and shine like I had thought it would. My disappointment was obvious. Disappointment turned to embarrassment when I realised that the reason for the failure to sparkle was due to the fact that some greasy residue of bread pudding left on my hands had transferred to the stone. Embarrassment turned to joy when with a quick  wipe of a cleaning cloth, the sparkle was restored. The ring was perfect.

I did not get my ring immediately. I think my husband was waiting for the right moment to give it to me. I waited and waited. I wondered if he had lost it, or forgotten about it, or maybe he'd changed his mind about marrying me. Eventually, he placed it on my finger and as awful as this sounds, I can barely remember how that came about. I must have been so relieved that my fears were unfounded that it blocked all other thoughts!

I would have loved to have been married before the birth of our first child together but messy, prolonged divorce meant that was not to be. My engagement ring remained a solitary adornment on my finger. Minutes after the birth, as I cradled our daughter in my arms, my husband presented me with an eternity ring. It was an incredibly special time anyway so a ring was really not necessary and with all the blood and mess it wasn't a great time to be making a big romantic gesture. It was also a perfect time! So many good emotions are tied up in that simple band of platinum studded with seven tiny diamonds. The diamonds were supposed to represent  my four daughters, his two children from his first marriage and our brand new baby. Although the symbolism became outdated with the birth of our son, I still treasure this ring and wear it everyday.

Finally, there is my wedding ring - a simple platinum band. Simple yet hugely significant. It was such an important moment to me when my husband slipped that ring onto my finger in the presence of friends and family. It marked the end of much uncertainty and heartache and the beginning of our life together as husband and wife.

I was five months pregnant with our son when I said my wedding vows. After losing the baby weight my rings were all a bit loose and resizing became essential. I hated being without them, even for the small amount of time it took to get the job done. I'm beginning to think that if the worse case scenario had played out when I had my little accident with the bathroom tap, the fate of my finger would have been very precarious. After all, I've got loads of fingers... and three precious rings.

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