I never really thought about an engagement ring or had a vision of what I wanted in that department. It felt like a formality and a signifier of some kind of status that made me a little uncomfortable. I know… some people will think that’s weird (mom, dad). It’s ok, I’m fine with being different.
When Matt and I were engaged the first time (from fall of 2010- spring of 2013) he gave me his mom’s ring. He proposed on a hike in the north cascade mountains, outside of our favorite little town of Winthrop, got down on one knee, and pulled a Tiffany’s box out of a hat. I don’t know how many carats it was, but it was big, sparkly and beautiful. I was moved to tears and so happy to say yes. I felt my heart pounding in my ears and it all felt a bit surreal. Especially this new object on my finger. It attracted lots of attention and unsolicited comments and it made me anxious for 2 reasons: one, I was terrified I was going to lose it or break it, and two, I didn’t like talking to strangers about our wedding plans. Probably because we didn’t have any. Plans, that is. We loved each other a ton but just couldn’t get on the same page about a few things… so it became a bit awkward… especially coming into the third year.
When we finally decided to call off the engagement it was heartbreaking on many levels and it was very painful to give the ring back. Despite my anxiousness about it, the ring was symbolic of our future together and there was tremendous weight in handing it back. As sad as that was, it was the truth of that moment. We loved each other, but we weren’t ready to get married. We needed to take a break and sort some things out.
The time apart gave us get clarity and I’m so grateful we found our way back and opened our hearts to each other again.
When we got back together and had been living together again for a few months, things just clicked. All of a (not so) sudden we were certain we were ready. This time we skipped the ring and the formal proposal and decided to get married through a casual conversation. And for Engagement 2.0 we were so excited about our plans that we bypassed any formal engagement announcement and just started telling people that we were getting married. Then we experienced a different kind of awkward moment, when people’s eyes would dart to my hand, expecting to find a ring and then look back at me and smile through a slight pause as they regrouped to casually ask another question or changed the subject entirely.
Those moments were much easier to handle, though, and we would often laugh about it, until a few months ago when we decided we would like to have rings. If you know us, you know that we can take a while to make a decision as we consider all the options, so I was partially expecting that we wouldn’t find “the ring” by the time of the wedding. But surprisingly, Matt found this sweet jewelry shop in Oakland called Esqueleto and we found this lovely vintage ring. We both instantly fell in love with it, and after sleeping on it for a couple of days, we decided that this was the one. It’s super sparkly and picks up lots of blue light. It is simple and modest and I absolutely love it. And I really love that we didn’t break the bank on it… because we would rather buy a house than a ring. Matt found a ring that he loves, too, designed by a local jeweler, and we also found my wedding bands there. Much easier than expected.
Long story short (too late;), when I wear this ring, I feel happy with our present and excited about our future, and I’m delighted when someone notices it and asks me about it. And that’s another confirmation for me that things have evolved for both of us and this time – now – it really feels right.