I remember as a little girl, sitting in my Gramma’s lap. We would rock in her old rocking chair and I would always say, “Please can I try it on one more time?” She would smile and take off her diamond ring without hesitation and slip it on my finger. It was the one Grampa gave her when he proposed. I was so small, I could fit two of my fingers into it! I would sit very still then, afraid it might fall off, roll around the floor and get lost.
“I see she’s got the ring on again.” It was my Grampa, kneeling before us. The fire crackled cheerily in the old stone fireplace behind him.
“You know, you wear that ring so much, I just might have to marry you!” he laughed as he scooped me up and twirled me around, so high in the air that I was looking down at him chuckling up into my face. I didn’t know whether to laugh delightedly or be scared that ring might go flinging across the room. I loved his dear face and how his eyes crinkled in the corners when he laughed.
“Do you know what you are to me?” he asked. I didn’t answer because I was giggling and holding onto the ring for dear life. So he answered for me in just a word.
No matter how old I got, whenever we went to visit them, I would ask to wear that ring. I believed some day I’d meet a wonderful man that would propose and give me a beautiful diamond ring too.
They’re gone from me now and I miss them every day. First we lost Grampa, and then we lost Gramma. There are two things I remember about the day we buried Gramma. One is that I was numb. The other is when Mom took me aside and we walked through Gramma’s garden. We sat on the old wooden bench that had been painted white, and Mom slowly opened her hand. There was Gramma’s ring.
“She wanted you to have it. She said she agreed with Grampa – you are priceless” and she caught me as I crumbled into her arms and cried.
I have this one silly thing I love to do sometimes. Usually it’s because I’m missing them a lot that day. I’ll take her ring to a jeweler or an antiques dealer and ask for an appraisal. They look it over closely and then look up at me, very impressed.
“This is very valuable.” They give me the dollar figure of the appraisal and I’ll look at them and say, “No, it’s priceless.”
I have this friend. She’s endured nightmares I can barely imagine. She feels broken and worthless because of things that happened to her that weren’t her fault. She’s been abused by so many people in her life and in so many ways. She’s never been cherished by her parents, and they never did the most important thing parents do – they didn’t protect her.
One night, I joined her family for dinner. Suddenly her father asked her a question, “What do you think you’re worth anyway?” It came out as a sneer. I looked over at her mother, smirking at the other end of the table. I looked at her brother, who had a hopeful look in his eyes. She looked down at her plate for a very long time. I had a feeling it wasn’t the first time she’s heard this question. I knew the answer to that question. I looked down at Gramma’s ring and thought, “Well, she’s certainly worth more than this ring.” Slowly she raised her chin with determination and looked her father straight in the eye.