Rings. It’s more than just a Ring.

“Do you like me better than you like Antonio?” Crystel asks last night at bedtime. I laugh. She laughs. I shake my head back and forth. She knows that I won’t answer that question. She’s asked before. “There is an abundance of love,” I tell her.

Sometimes as parents we are asked to put into practice what we say.

Last May, Crystel, Antonio, and I designed a ring for Jody’s 50th birthday. The children were very cognizant that their individual birthstone represented their ten-year-old self and jockeyed to have their stone be the closest to Jody’s birthstone.

One evening, after Jody received her ring, Crystel and I were lounging on the couch together. She told me that she wanted to create a ring like we did for Mama Jody with her and her birthparents stones on it. To clarify, I asked, “Just you, your birthmom, and your birthdad?”

“Yes,” she replied.

I felt a twinge. Why not one with Mama Beth, Mama Jody, and Crystel?

Then I was touched that she felt safe enough to tell me what she wanted and that she wasn’t worried about my response. There is an abundance of love. Right, Mama?

I got my laptop. We went to Jared’s website to design the ring that she wanted. First, she picked the design. Second, she took the laptop from me and put it on her lap. Third, she moved her birthstone to be in the middle, her mom’s next to her, and then stopped.

“What should I use for my dad’s birthstone?” she asked.

“For now, you can guess,” I said. “We will ask your mom when your dad’s birthday is. She is the one who will know. For right now, pick the one that you think it is.”

Her mom’s birthday is in September the same as hers. So, in her mind, since her dad was probably older, because all dads are older, it must be October, November, or December. She picked November.

Looking at the cost of the ring, Crystel saw that it would take her life savings. And, she still wouldn’t have enough money. It would take six more months for her to have a total of $225.00.

The ring for Jody was a symbol of her family always being with her and of our love for her. Crystel designed her ring with this same sentiment. Her mom and dad would always be with her. She was loved.

I felt proud of her for taking care of a want that she had. She wanted a representation of being loved by her mom and dad. She wanted them to be real to her. She wanted them always with her. Her ring was a way of her taking charge of her story. Yes, she was adopted. Yes, she had a family in Guatemala. Yes, she was thee Crystel.

She was living out the adage … don’t wait for someone to buy you flowers …. bless yourself.

Crystel was going to do for herself instead of waiting for something that would never ever happen. That could never ever happen. She wasn’t going to be bitter about it. She wasn’t going to be angry. She wasn’t going to be depressed. She was going to design a ring, put herself in the middle of her birthparents and be cradled by the universal belief that she was loved.

In June, during our visit with her mom, I asked the birthdate of Crystel’s dad and jotted down February in the small notebook I carried.

Crystel continued to save her money.

$225.00 dollars later, Jody, Antonio, and I accompanied Crystel to Jared’s to place her order. The person who was helping us suggested that the purple stone (Amethyst) be in the middle of the two blue stones (Sapphire). That would be more aesthetically pleasing, he said. I looked at Crystel. She shook her head.  I understood. She wanted to be held in her parent’s arms. She needed the middle spot.

“No,” I said. “Blue (mom), blue (Crystel), and Purple (dad). Just like she wants them.”

There was much discussion about the sizing of the ring. Which finger would be best as she grew from being a 10-year-old to a young adult. We determined that her middle finger was the correct size and as she grew she could move it to another finger. Jody and I talked to her about how we never take our rings off and that she didn’t need to either. She could always have her birthparents with her.

There is an abundance of love.

A Ring, Not Such A Simple Thing

It occurred to me on my drive to work that this was going to be Jody’s 50th birthday. I hadn’t come up with an idea for a present but I was happy that I realized it was her 50th.  The significance of her birthday suddenly hit me. Her 50th birthday!

I was grateful that the significance of this milestone occurred to me, because often significance could hit me on the head and I still might not get it. I have a very good friend that knows this about me and she checks up on me around Jody’s birthday and our wedding anniversary.

I was pleased with myself. I had thought of the significance all by myself and I still had a few weeks to come up with a SIGNIFICANT present.

Jody’s birthday is around Mother’s day. Maybe that is where I got the idea that a bracelet or necklace with all of our birthstones would be nice.

Crystel, our nine-year-old daughter, was with me at Jared’s. Antonio, our other nine-year-old was across the parking lot at SchmItt’s for his drum lesson. Crystel and I only had a short amount of time to make a decision before Antonio’s lesson would be over. While I was looking at bracelets with the personal attendant, Crystel was examining rings. She called me over and pointed out a ring that she liked. I thought about it. The ring could have the number of stones we needed and Jody was more apt to wear the ring all of the time.

I changed course and had the gal price a ring for me with an emerald, ruby, and two sapphires. When it came time to decide the order of the stones I asked Crystel. She said the emerald, two sapphires, and then the ruby. I thought her order would be good. Jody being a sapphire would be next to each child depending on what sapphire the kids decided Jody was.

But … the next few days I puzzled over the order of the stones. I had an unsettling feeling. Jody was Emerald, not Sapphire. Antonio was Ruby. Crystel and I were Sapphire. Crystel’s order put Sapphire next to Emerald. Now on the face of things this is no big deal. But, symbolism is very important to nine-year-olds. The stones would be Jody, Crystel, Beth, Antonio. Antonio would be next to me if the first Sapphire was Crystel and not next to the birthday mama.

I checked online and the ring hadn’t yet shipped. I stopped into the jewelry store to check on the possibility of changing the order of the rings to sapphire, emerald, ruby, sapphire. This would put Jody next to each child.

This time Antonio was with me at Jared’s. He said that he thought the stones should match the order of the birthdays, emerald, ruby, sapphire, sapphire. I raised my eyebrows. The stones would be Antonio, Jody, Crystel, Beth. His order would place Ruby next to Emerald.

I was told that the ring had already shipped but that they could change the order of the stones for a price. I thought about it, and economically, this didn’t make sense. I told the gal that the order of the stones was perfect and explained to Antonio on the way out of the store how the ring was round, never-ending, inclusive, just like our family. I put my arm around him and said, “Each stone is important, a representation of us all.”

Jody’s birthday has since passed. Antonio thinks the ruby stone representing him is pretty, Crystel proudly announced that she chose the order of the stones, and I talked about the SIGNIFICANCE of the ring.