I try very hard to teach my children that material possessions are not the key to a fulfilling life.  I try very hard to remind myself of this fact as well.  Especially at this time of year, and particularly in the face of those damn commercials featuring a beribboned Lexus in some lucky bitch’s driveway.  But I will always want my kids to derive their happiness not from Nintendo DS and cell phones, but from the people who give them those objects.  (just kidding, sort of).   As Charlie Brown once said, “Happiness is warm puppy”.  He obviously never sat in the warm, heated leather seats of a Lexus RX350 however.

ANYWAY…seriously, I am a sentimental fool, and I prefer attachments to people, rather than objects.  Unfortunately however, I have a lot of objects to which I am sentimentally attached.  One of these objects, a ring I wear daily to be exact, got lost today, and now I am beside myself.  I don’t have a lot of expensive jewelry, and what I have is generally things that I wouldn’t cry over if I lost them.  However my rings, especially my wedding rings, are the exception.  Thank heavens I didn’t lose one of them (they belonged to my grandmother, and I would just jump into the grave next to her if I ever lost one of those!) but the one I did lose today is nearly as special as my wedding rings.

While I was pregnant with our first child, I used to tease Matt by telling him that it is traditional to buy your wife expensive jewelry after she gives birth.  She gives you a baby, you give her diamonds.  “It’s the least you can do”, I would tell him.  (Yeah, so it wasn’t until after I had kids that I realized materialism was bad.)  Of course he would just scoff at the idea of such a gift exchange.  “The baby is YOUR gift too”, he would say.  “What more do you need?” he would say.  I would laugh, but I kept dropping jewelry hints until the days in my last trimester when all I wanted was for him to shut the hell up and get me some damn french onion soup.

Then came Emma’s arrival:  23 hours of labor, BACK labor at that, several vomiting episodes, an hour of pushing, and all the technicolor glory of giving birth , shoved right in his FACE!   He was wonderful throughout, and clearly exhilarated and emotional when he first lay eyes on his daughter.  But yeah, he just saw one gory and raw reminder of the power and miracle of life. 

Matt stayed by our side until we were finally resting comfortably in our room, this new family of three.  Then, as I was drifting off, I felt him peck my forehead and heard him whisper “I’ll be right back”.  Lucky for him I couldn’t muster the energy to say “WHERE THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING LEAVING ME WITH THIS MINIATURE STRANGER BUSTER??” 

About an hour later he finally returned.  I was a bit miffed that he had mysteriously abandoned me and couldn’t imagine where he had been aside from perhaps McDonalds.   He sat beside me and placed a box in my hands.  It was from Bailey, Banks and Biddle.  I immediately began to cry.  (though as anyone who has given birth can attest, it wouldn’t have taken much to coax tears)  I had forgotten all about the jewelry teasing at this point.  Indeed I had been given the most extraordinary gift in the world–a healthy baby girl.  Yet here was my darling husband, who after witnessing what I went through to bring this baby into our lives, realized “Damn, she was right.  Jewelry IS the least I can do!!!”  Remembering that moment still makes me smile.

It is the sentiment attached to that jewelry that makes it so important to me.   So when I was walking out the door this morning and noticed that my beautiful, gold and amethyst “birth”day ring was not on my finger, I freaked.  I have yet to find it even though I have scoured my entire house, including the trash, the dog food bin, and intend to even examine the dog’s crap piles in case of an accidental ingestion.  I cried all morning.

But I wrote that story here for a reason: to remind myself that no matter what happens to the ring, the memory of the moment, the meaning behind it, can never be lost.  Well, and I do still have the matching bracelet. 😉

Matthew, I love you honey.  You are an amazing husband and father.  Even if you can’t give me everything I want (beribboned cars for example), you give me everything I need.  And that’s all that matters.

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