Friday, September 25, 2009

My Wedding Ring

I lost it. It's gone.

Last Sunday I went to the YMCA and realized I hadn't removed my wedding ring. So I took it off and put it in my cupholder. I remember thinking at the time that someone could break in and steal it. I very, very rarely remove it. That's the last time I remember seeing it.

That ring is more than just a ring to me. It's been part of me for over 15 years. The poor thing has been through a lot.

In the late spring of 1993, Todd took me ring shopping. First I had a to sign a hand-written contract saying that I would keep my mouth shut about it! The first store we went to was Woelk's Diamond Jewelers in Russell, KS. The first ring we looked at was mine. It was an original! We never found another ring that we liked as much.

Todd officially proposed to me over the Fourth of July that year. He only had the engagement ring portion because, as a poor college guy, the other part was still at Woelk's while he made the payments.

In August that year I started my first teaching job. It was rough being away for Todd for that semester but I was very busy coaching volleyball and being a single mother to a kindergartener. One morning I woke up and my ring finger was swollen up. Something had bit me during the night. The ring wouldn't budge and the swelling kept getting worse. School hadn't started and I had my girls doing two-a-day practices. After early morning practice I called Todd crying. Heath and I drove to Dighton and I had it cut off. It was traumatic!

The night before Todd and I were married, he went out with his buddies for his bachelor party--Todd, Mac, Jack, Hank, and Jeremy. They even met up with some Hugoton guys while they were out that night in Liberal. Jack and Mac got tickets that night for the "intent" of relieving themselves in the fountain on Main Street. (They got out of those!) When the guys got back to Jer's house, my ring was gone. In a panic, they started searching. The velvet-covered box was found on the floor. It had been chewed up by Shadow, Jer's German Shepherd. However, when they opened it my ring was still inside it without a scratch. I still have that box.

Since then it has rarely left my hand. The underside of the ring is thin from so much wear. Over the years I've cleaned many substances out of its nooks and crannies--everything from baby poop to cookie dough to hair product. In fact, it has become a tradition to sit at dad and mom's kitchen bar over the 4th of July with my sisters and mother and clean all of our rings together while we share stories about our year. Weird tradition, I know. (I never said my family was normal!)

It has been in numerous lakes and both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It has been made bigger and then bigger and, when my finger got thinner, I wrapped taped around it so I could still wear it until it was made smaller. I've lost a diamond that was replaced. I've had the prongs built up. Many people have commented on its uniqueness...and to this day I have never seen another like it.

It even has a flaw that only makes it more endearing to me. You can actually see the flaw with your bare eye. Anytime I got it cleaned or fixed or resized, I looked to make sure that my flaw was there. It was MY ring and MY flaw.

It's been there through our ups and downs. Wow, marriage is quite a journey. I know it's just a piece of jewelry, but it represents so much to me.

And now it is gone.

It's funny how my trust in God affects how I look at everything. Even this makes me think that after 15 years--raising kids, changing careers, moving, growing apart and together in the ebb and flow that is a marriage--maybe a fresh start is in order.

And, who knows, maybe one day God will make sure it's returned to me. In the meantime, I'll be perfectly happy with a band.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Funny Things My Kids Say--Part 6

The other day we were having company for dinner. For dessert, I purchased two chocolate chip cookie mixes. However, that evening I had a headache. Knowing that my daughter likes to bake, I called Tana up and asked her if she would mix and bake the cookies for me. She was happy to do so.

I laid down to take a short nap and try to quash the ache in my head. But too soon I was awakened by the smell of burning cookies. Lying there, I heard Todd hollering for Tana and listened as she removed the sad little things from the oven.

After a few more minutes, I got up to check out the damage. Yep, they were pretty burned.

What had happened? I wondered if she got distracted by homework or the computer. Did she forget to set the timer? Did she have her iPod going and just not hear? So I called her up to get the scoop.

I asked, “What happened to the cookies?”

Tana answered, “I only cooked them a little over 10 minutes…about 12 minutes!”

Hmmm… “Tana, the package says to cook them 8 to 10 minutes. Since you like chewy cookies, you should’ve taken them out at 8 minutes.”

And Tana answered, “I wasn’t sure how long to cook them since I doubled the recipe.”

I found that burnt chocolate chip cookies go down best when served warm with laughter.