Today I sold my wedding ring.
This may not seem like a big deal to anyone that has never done it or who was angry when they divorced, but it is to me. We each had wedding rings and anniversary rings, which were bought for us to exchange at a vow renewal on our 10th anniversary. That ceremony never happened. Instead, we separated that summer.
I had been saving these rings for our children. Their father's ring was stolen last year, but I had my rings put up for them still.
Since they were young, they had asked about my wedding ring, probably because I wore it everyday and didn't like to go places without it. I would tell them how it stood for our love and our promise to take care of each other for the rest of our lives.
I remember what it felt like when we picked out those rings. We were so young and happy. Because we planned to wear these rings for the rest of our lives, we chose carefully. I must have looked at thousands of ring designs before I decided what I wanted and actually went out shopping. We chose all three rings at the same time and made a payment plan. Yes, it was important enough to us that we were willing to pay it out, even though our combined income that year was only $13,000.
As the years passed, there were a few lean times. One summer, early on, there had been a hiring freeze in the construction industry so he had been laid off for some time. So, I couldn't afford to fix the washing machine when it broke and I had to sell the dryer to pay the water bill. Undeterred, I fashioned a clothes press (to squeeze water from them) out of a plastic baby gate and spent the summer washing laundry in a Rubbermaid tote, on a makeshift washstand, with my toddlers running around the clothes line.
I actually didn't mind it, I was doing what I had to do to take care of my family. When he was able, he went back to work and things got much better.
I guess that's the issue that I have. Even though I haven't worn my rings for over two years now, they remind me of those things. The promises...the working together toward a common goal...all the things that we were supposed to have together. Everything that I am accomplishing right now used to be our dreams and goals. Somewhere along the way, though, that changed. I don't think he meant for it to. I think that he thought he wanted it because it all sounded so good, but the reality is hard and he just wasn't able to handle it.
So now, selling my ring reminds me that all that is over. In the beginning we promised to never end up here. Now my kids have, not only a divorced home, but only one parent with any kind of meaningful involvement. I guess I sort of connected those rings with the good things and I had hoped they could symbolize that type of promise and commitment when I passed them on to my children. At the same time, they could be a reminder to them of how precious that is and how it must be protected.
It's not that I haven't moved on, because I have. I am happy with my little family and I know that, after everything that happened, there's no way that my ex-husband and I could be together now, even if we tried. At the same time, though, I know that my older kids will always be missing something. And that is definitely not what I planned for them when I brought them into my world.
Even moving on, though, things can never be what they were. I will never again be a teenage bride, so full of energy & youthful hopes and dreams. No, now I am jaded and face the very real possibility that I may never be able to fully give my complete heart and soul to another, no matter how deserving they may be.
I guess turning loose of those precious stones is sort of like acknowledging that I have reached rock bottom. They were the only thing that I had left with any monetary value and they were the only thing that I had left that symbolized the type of true love & commitment that once existed in my life. In some irrational way, it felt like keeping them could show my children that we didn't arbitrarily bring them into our family without a plan. We had big dreams for our family and, even though ours didn't go as planned, it is worth it to dream still.