Friday, October 10, 2008
Today is our fifth wedding anniversary. We picked the date of 10/10 because he’s a Brit and we wanted to have a date that read the same way no matter where you were from. At the time we married, we didn’t have much money. He was a recent transplant and as such, was ineligible for work. Oh, and we had a lot of debt. A lot.
While there was no money for an engagement ring, I didn’t really care. I’m not a diamond girl and certainly not much of a traditionalist about those things. If anything, I stare in wonder at some of the big-ass bling I see on the fingers of younger brides, thinking of the stupid hock they’ve entered into to impress who? Her friends? Her mom? Please.
But I digress.
We did want wedding rings, his and hers. I don’t like gold at all, so we went to a local shop in our old neighborhood and picked out a couple of plain, thin, white gold bands. I think we paid $300 for the two of them, including the engraving. Tiffany’s this was not.
We married at the Municipal Building in downtown Manhattan. Lots of friends showed up, mitigating the serious DMV vibe. We were married by a woman who I’d taken for the janitor. It took all of 60 seconds to do the deed. Afterwards, we trooped over to Joe’s Shanghai on Pell Street, where we’d reserved a huge table and shared soup dumplings, Tsingtao, and lots of laughs. My dad was there, not long after one of his surgeries. He declared it the best wedding he’d ever been to.
But back to the rings. There have been a few times, I’ll admit, where I’d thought about how nice it would be to upgrade the wedding band. Some shop in Soho had some beauts in platinum, a metal I love. We’ve worked hard to get ourselves out of debt and are at the point where we can relax a bit about watching every bloody dime.
So I was looking at my ring the other day. It’s pretty battered, with all sorts of scratches and dings in it now. The shine has dulled a bit and it’s not as smooth as it once was. And it doesn’t help that my penchant for wearing lots of huge rings makes the thin band look even thinner, playing oddly with its proportions.
But I looked at the ring and realized what it really means to me. We were not youngsters when we got married and we’re certainly not youngsters now. The rings have aged right along with us. And when I look at what we’d sacrificed to afford even these two small rings and how far we’ve come since then, I see the rings as a reminder. They represent a promise to each other, a hope for the future, and the struggles all couples face when establishing a life together. The rings have weathered it all right along with us. Their scars are like the hard-won wrinkles and laughlines on our faces. I could no more shine up my ring than shoot botox into my face. I’ve earned my scars and am proud of them.
We live in a society that values youth – shiny, bright, captivating youth. But there is beauty in our scars and in our imperfections. I like to think that Charlie and I have learned a bit from our marriage – to be kinder, more tolerant, more trusting, more loving as the years progress. Our wedding bands are a constant reminder of not only what we’ve sacrificed, but what we’ve gained over the years.
Happy Anniversary, Charlie.
I love you.