Saturday, November 19, 2005

One More Time

I bought a new wedding ring the other day. It's my third. The first one came off when I was swimming in a cold lake last summer; the second I had made and when it didn't come out right I ended up having the jeweler buy it back for the gold. So now we're on number three. The Tall Doctor maintains the whole situation is a Freudian farce, to which I say that if it is, at least I get points for fighting back--I mean, my subconscious may be conspiring to rid me of rings, but every time it succeeds, my conciousness promptly goes out and buys another. So there.

The current ring is a nice, plain, gold band. I thought about funky (chunky designs; quotations in cool writing), I thought about artsy (hammered gold from the Sundance Catalog), I thought about stones (a sprinkle of tiny diamonds set in the band). But in the end, I decided that a wedding ring, like wedding vows, is best kept simple, because all the variations have been done, most of them are bad, and besides, who knows whether flights of fancy or elaboration will be relevent in one, or ten, or forty years. So I have me a gold band, fairly wide because I have long thin fingers which look like Gollum's if I wear delicate rings.

Et pendent que j'y pense, while I was wandering through online jewelry catalogues, I found a wedding ring made to look like The One Ring from the Lord of the Rings, threatening runic inscriptions and all. Now THAT'S a romantic set of sentiments.

The Mordor-esque ring did make me think, though, that buying a wedding ring when you've been married five years is rather different from buying one before the wedding. More threatening. You're not back in Hobbiton, kicking back and smoking pipeweed and contemplating the journey now. No, after five years you're pretty much out of the Shire. You're wet, you're tired, you're muddy, Gandolf hasn't shown up at The Prancing Pony like he said he would, and it all feels a little chaotic. Maybe you've even run into a few Black Riders.

OK, enough with the metaphor (and they heave a sigh of relief). But still, when you go to buy that wedding ring before you're married, romance is in the air; the relationship is shiny, pretty to look at, built for two. After five years, the relationship is a little dented, maybe has a few scratches along the sides, has lost its shine. Also, that relationshiip built for two? Now not so much. Add two boys, two cats who used to be boys until we cut their balls off, a house, extended families--the relationship is bulgier now. Or, to look at it another way, more commodious.

In any case, going to buy a ring when you know all this strikes me as being just as foolhardy and brave as buying one the first time around, though for different reasons. The first time, you're committing to the unknown and you're full of excitement and trepidation. And hope; don't forget the hope. The second time around, you're recommitting to the KNOWN, which is infinitely more terrifying, and you're full of dogged perseverence and exhaustion and preoccupation. All of which are so very romantic. But you buy that puppy anyway, and when you put it on you remember that this whole deal started with a relationship built for two, and that the two founding members are in fact still around, and maybe you should pay attention to that. And to the hope: don't forget the hope.

I had a lovely ending all thought out here, but it's kind of dissipated because The Tall Doctor, who is lying beside me in bed, has been reading me long selections from Shelby Foote's history of the Civil War at rather frequent intervals, and I keep losing my train of thought. So my lyrical post on wedding rings and the mutations of romance over time has been somewhat de-lyricized by my actual spouse's actual presence.



Blogger DoctorMama said...

I kind of like the idea of redoing the band every now and again. (Not the vows -- that strikes me as very odd -- trying too hard?) My husband lost his ring surfing and was panicked that I'd be upset about it. It's just a piece of metal! But it does matter, too. He replaced it with the exact same band, which if I'm reading anything into it, is a good sign, I think. But now the store we bought them at is out of business, so he'll have to think harder next time.
So you didn't spring for the LOTR One Ring? Hee hee.
(My husband has a habit of insisting on quoting things to me while I try to read or blog. I do find it charming ... usually.)

6:43 AM  

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