***Little bloggy sidebar: I had a little twitter conversation over the weekend about the changing style of a friend's blogging and how it's come to reflect her life as a whole. At one point, she described it as 'journalling before you make the scrapbook page'. And a little while later, she tweeted a pic of her everyday jewellery. These two random tweets, combined with my current approach to scrapbooking, made me realise I've never told this story...***
The only jewellery I wear every day are my wedding and engagement rings. Necklaces and dangling earrings seem to be baby magnets so I tend not to wear anything more, either at home or at work.
We chose our wedding rings together in Lumbar's, an independent jewellers in Leicester. Both are simple platinum bands, Andy's being about twice as wide as mine.
I had an image in my mind of what I wanted my engagement ring to look like; white gold band, three oblong diamonds in a row, the middle one slightly larger. Not that we ever discussed it or went looking at rings together. We knew from the beginning that we were thinking of marriage; we wouldn't have risked our friendship over anything less. So after a little more than 2 years, we knew we were getting married. Neither of us wanted a long engagement, just enough to plan our wedding. So we were waiting until I'd passed my final exams, avoiding distractions during what would be a stressful enough time. Or so I thought.
Andy bought my engagement ring in the week before Christmas 2005, at the same shop where we got our wedding rings a few months later. He planned to ask my father's permission to ask for me to marry him over the Christmas break. As it happened, there wasn't a good time until they were packing our things into the car and found themselves alone outside the house. Andy can't remember the details of the conversation, but apparently Dad said yes. And we tootled off back to Leicester before continuing on to our holiday in Scotland over New Year.
At this point, it's important to say that I love my engagement ring. It's beautiful, elegant and different. I've never seen another like it. I love it because Andy chose it for me, looking carefully over all the rings in the shop until he found one he thought was just right. I can't imagine any other ring on my hand, day in, day out. And the ring I imagined, definitely wouldn't have been wearable for my career or the daily work that is raising children.
We had a lovely day on the Isle of Arran for New Year's Eve and dressed up for our evening meal in the hotel's restaurant. The food was fantastic, the wine was good and the atmosphere was perfect. So I gazed across the table, into Andy's eyes and said something romantic. I can't remember what, it doesn't really matter now. And he.... made a joke. I huffed, said he couldn't ever say anything romantic to me, pouted. He gathered his breath a couple of times, preparing himself and I laughed. Then he got down on one knee and produced a ring box from his pocket.
Even writing this now, I get a little shiver in my tummy! I love my husband so much, but we're not crazy in love people. We joke that we slid into love, just turned around one day and realised we'd arrived. There was no falling head-over-heels, more a practical realisation that we were meant to be together. But, boy, he read the right books for this one!
He had to ask me twice; I was shaking so much, he couldn't tell I was nodding. I kept asking if he was serious. Really serious. Did he mean it? Was he sure? He was grinnning, ear to ear, and saying yes. He was serious, he was sure, he absolutely meant it. I slipped the ring on straightaway, it was a little too large so I couldn't wear it all the time. We finished our dinner and headed back to our room. Stopping to tell the staff on the reception desk that we'd just got engaged - I had to tell someone!!
And I looked at that ring, that was so not what I wanted. Not what I would have chosen. And I'd be lying if there wasn't a little bit of me that was disappointed.
Then I looked at that man. Who was so not what I expected. Who I would never have picked out in a million years as the man I would spend my life with. Who loved (and loves) me so much. Who offered to change the ring, to get the one I really wanted, to make me happy. And I realised. Sometimes we don't get what we wanted. But sometimes we get something better. More special, more beautiful, more perfect. And the only reason we took the ring back to the shop? To get it resized.
The only downside to the whole thing? He asked just after our main courses had been cleared. And I couldn't eat anything after that, not even my beautiful melting chocolate pudding!