For the last few months, I’ve been alternating my wedding band from my left hand to my right hand. I’ll put it on my right hand for a while and forget about it and then without thinking, I’ll slip it back on my left ring finger and eventually notice it’s there. It’s definitely the most comfortable there. It fits nicely into the grove that has been worn into that finger for 27 years. There’s an indentation there that I thought would never disappear, but it’s slowly fading as the ring spends more time on the right side.
When Mike and I picked out my first engagement ring and wedding band, we weren’t preparing for a long engagement filled with elaborate wedding plans. We were getting ready to board a flight to Los Angeles for an elopement … a “shotgun” wedding. It was a quick decision and the rings were just a necessity. We were young (I was only 19) and had a small budget, so I just settled for a nice set … not my dream engagement ring. On our tenth wedding anniversary, I decided I had outgrown the set, not physically but I was older and my little diamond looked out of place on my more mature finger. I didn’t pine for a bigger diamond, I told Mike I didn’t need a diamond at all. We put the “two months salary” (or whatever the jewelry store commercials suggest you spend) towards bills and groceries (like always) and I just got a band – a lovely gold band, simple and pretty with a faint swirly design etched on it. At twenty plus years of marriage, I was wearing more silver jewelry and was casually looking for a silver, or preferably white gold ring. I wanted something with a heart on it (I’ve got a thing for hearts). Sure enough, at one of those kiosks, while at the Toronto airport (after spending time there with Mike’s family) on our travels to Bulgaria (for Mike’s stem cell treatment), I found exactly what I had in mind, at the cost of $18.99, and I’ve been wearing it with pride ever since.
Just before Christmas, I taught a type of fitness class I had never taught before: a Barre class (pronounced “bar”). It’s a blend of Pilates, ballet and strength moves. I’ve had the Pilates and strength moves down pat for years, but the ballet was something new. I attended a workshop and a few classes before I taught Barre and I fell in love with it right away.
(This does have something to do with my wedding ring, so please keep reading)
During that first class I attended, there was a moment in particular that caught me off guard and it had nothing to do with grand plies or arabesques. When the instructor asked us to position ourselves in front of the mirror and to place our hands on the bar, I lost sight of everything except the assembly line of diamond rings. Every left hand on that bar had a glow, not every one was a diamond but every ring finger was taken. It was like a special wives club, meeting at the bar … the ballet bar that is and I felt like an imposter.
I watched in slow-motion-like every time all the lovely hands returned to the bar. All those hardworking, hard loving, wonderful, wife hands, coming together into place to give thanks, to praise, to escape, or whatever, at the end of a long day.
There were definitely times over the years that I wanted out of the “club”. Who doesn’t want out on occasion? But for the most part, I was a happy member. Here’s the bigger picture: for more than half my life, I was a wife and that’s who I was. So not to be one all of a sudden, was bizarre.
Funny thing is that in so many ways Mike prepared me well to be single. He taught me to always look on the bright side. He taught me to laugh a lot and to laugh at myself; and not to sweat the small stuff. He encouraged me to go after my dreams, and to not be afraid to fall on my face – that it’s okay to make mistakes. When I worried, he would say, “Have you prayed?” or “Let’s pray,” or he would remind me that our children were safe and well, so nothing else really mattered. He knew my strengths and helped me become stronger. He knew my weaknesses and was never critical. He knew my greatest Love was Jesus and guided me back to Him when I went my own way. Mike gently led and directed me to be independent (but dependant on God) and strong – to be the very best me I could be. He empowered me!
This “new club” is not so bad. I’m feeling more and more comfortable here. That’s what I say as I move my wedding band to my right hand.
PS – I’ve been encouraged, well directed, loved and empowered by a wonderful man my whole life: my dad. My dad and mom are my biggest cheerleaders and have been a constant source of support, love and prayer. Thanks dad and mom! And thank you to all the men out there who empower the women in their lives – daughters, sisters, friends and wives… We thank you!
Good men help make the women in their lives the best they can be.
Link to my book: Hold On, Let Go – Facing ALS With Courage and Hope