I must have been about 13 years old when I bought my mother a ring for Mother’s Day. It wasn’t just any old ring, it was a ring I had my hand in designing. Being one of four siblings, I wanted my mother to have something that would commemorate her children so I thought what better way than with a mother’s ring.
The ring was made of shiny 14 karat yellow gold with an antique blackwash overlay. The stones were placed four across with each stone signifying the month of birth. I was so proud of that ring. I couldn’t wait to see the expression on my mother’s face when she opened it on Mother’s Day.
The morning I picked the ring up from the jeweler, my hands trembled as he opened up his safe and removed the small brown envelope from a box containing a sea of baubles and gems. As he opened and titled the envelope onto the jeweler’s pad, the ring slowly made its way into the world. As I stood transfixed, my eyes locked onto my mother’s ring. Although it was more beautiful than I imagined, my heart seized. The jeweler made a mistake.
As I picked up the ring, to me, the mistake was glaring. My birthstone was pearl and there was not a pearl in sight. I had no idea what kind of stone was nesting so comfortably in place of my pearl. I gingerly cleared my throat from the cotton balls that had inexplicable taken up residence and sputtered something unintelligible as I pointed to the place where the pearl should have been. The jeweler laughed as he took down a birth stone chart that was hanging to the left of the large mirrored wall. He patiently explained that the pearl’s color would have detracted from the rings beauty so he chose the alexandrite stone which was one of three birthstones for the month of June. With a sigh of relief I scanned the chart again with renewed confidence that the ring was perfect.
As the jeweler slid the ring into the black velvet box, I couldn’t contain myself. He wrapped the box in gold foiled paper and placed a shiny iridescent bow on top. I walked the four long blocks home deep in thought wondering where my private stash was going to be. I didn’t want to blow the surprise by having my mother find the ring before Mother’s Day.
I really don’t remember too much about that Mother’s Day after all it was a long time ago. What I do remember is my mother’s delight as she slowly opened that gold foiled wrapping wondering out loud what could possibly be in that box. As she slowly opened the black velvet hinged box her joy was indescribable. It wasn’t so much what she said it was more about the way she made me feel as she told me how beautiful the ring was. When she slipped the ring on her right ring finger she extended her arm flexed her right hand and gazed at her new ring. We exchanged hugs and for that moment in time everything was right with the world.
Throughout the next 4 or so decades of my mother’s life that ring never left her right ring finger. The stones smoothed and flattened over time, and the black antiquing faded away but she never took the ring off. Aside from that very special Mother’s Day so many years ago, I don’t ever remember discussing that ring with my mother in any great detail. The fact that my mother never took the ring off was discussion enough.
My mother passed away 20 months ago. It was an unbearable loss in a sea of unbearable losses. As I placed my mother’s Mother’s Day ring on my left finger, my right finger was larger than hers, a lifetime of memories came flooding back to me; the jewelry store, the walk home, hiding the surprise and the delight on my mother’s face as she gazed at her beautiful ring.
Now it’s my turn. My mother’s ring is now part of my consciousness as well as a physical reminder of my mother’s love. Many times during a day I will inadvertently glance at my left hand and am startled as I see my mother’s hand staring up at me. Who would have imagined what the significance of that mother’s ring purchased so many years ago would be? My mother’s ring gives me comfort, my mother’s ring gives me joy, my mother’s ring gives me peace and more importantly my mother’s ring gives me a soft place to fall.