I don’t lose things.
As we speak, Fruit Loop #2 is running around the backyard wearing the earrings I had my ears pierced in when I was nine. When she flops on her bed to read, she lights her copy of Ramona and Her Mother that I gave her with the lamp I had in my bedroom from the time I was born. Sometime soon, I will present her with the very first piece of jewelry my parents ever gave me: a poop brown topaz stone set in gold. It’s ugly but I still have it because I don’t lose things.
Perhaps as evidence that I come from a long line of Non Stuff Losers, Fruit Loop #1 proudly wears a kerchief slider to Boy Scouts that my father received in trade at a Cub Scout Jamboree in 1957. He happily reads books my dad saved from his childhood and he lays next to Hubby’s enormous stuffed dog (name: Bufoly) while he does so. And, when HE flops on his bed to read his Hardy Boys books from the 1950s, he flops on the the bed Hubby used his whole life which completes the bedroom set Hubby got when he was seven.
I regularly find lost homework, shoes, Squinkies and Lego men with my keen sense of “Lost Child Stuff” radar. I always know where my keys are and I have never lost a pair of sunglasses. All of our socks have matches and I’ve managed to keep track of both Fruit Loops for the past eleven years (save for the time we lost Fruit Loop #1 at the beach a few years ago but that was totally Hubby’s fault…). As a someone who moved seven times as a kid, six times during college and twice as a grown up, I consider it a personal victory that I still have in my possession that poop brown ring.
Did I make my point yet?
I don’t lose things. I just don’t.
Well, except maybe my wedding rings.
Last summer, on a camping trip, my rings went AWOL. Vanished. Gone. Gone. Gone.
Yes, I searched our tent. Yes, I took our sleeping bags and shook them like I meant to give them shaken baby syndrome in hopes that they’d fall out to my feet. Yes, I meticulously searched every single piece of clothing, gear, cooler and leftover marshmallow. Eight times. I quizzed every person on the trip with the prowess of a seasoned Law and Order detective and harassed the camp owners to the point of stalking every single day for a month after the loss.
And, if you were at the Yogi Bear Shangri-La by the Creek on or about August 20th, yes, that was me on my hands and knees among the rocks, hand searching for two hours. I’m still convinced that metal detector I brought was broken because it did not reveal my rings after I systematically grid searched the entire 100 x100 square of outdoor space. I stopped just shy of demanding that a five mile perimeter be set up by local police so that every man, woman and child could be searched. But don’t think it didn’t cross my mind.
As I write this, I still can’t believe they are gone BECAUSE I DON’T LOSE THINGS.
But I lost my wedding rings and the loss makes me so very sad.
I don’t miss them because they were beautiful and people complimented me regularly on them. I don’t miss them because the diamond in the engagement ring was the diamond that Hubby’s father gave his mother (I. KNOW.). I don’t even miss them because I was excited to some day pass the diamond on to Fruit Loop #2 when it was her time to marry the love of her life.
Rather, I miss them because they were my daily reminder of Hubby.
Until they were gone, I never realized how many times during the day I’d look at them and think of him. On those days when the Fruit Loops had wrecked the house and laundry overflowed like the Mighty Mississippi, I’d look at them and remember he was coming home. When he was on a business trip and I was nervous in a dark house by myself, a glance at them and a nervous twirl on my finger would soothe me. During arguments where tempers flared and I’d be so angry I’d want to quit, during those silent, sullen moments, I’d grudgingly look at them and remember what I promised to cherish. And, on some mornings, as I’d slip them on my hand to start my day, my memory would flash to the day he placed them on my finger and said he’d love me for richer or poorer and then giggled because there was no richer that day.
In the sparkle of that diamond, I’d see the embers of our relationship burning strong. In the forty year history the diamond carried, I’d feel protected and strengthened by the bonds of love wrapped inside the facets. In the tarnished, dinged platinum band, our marriage: shiny underneath but changed over the years by kids, a house and jobs.
In those rings, I saw us.
Now they are departed to parts unknown, seemingly gone for good. And Yogi and Boo Boo aren’t talking.
As our fifteenth wedding anniversary approaches, I know that material things are just that: worldly objects that we cannot take with us when we leave this world. As I look at my bare finger and wince every day, I remind myself that no band of platinum is as strong as the bonds we have forged together during sleepless nights, two homes and six seasons of LOST. Yes, my finger is bare but my heart is not and for that I’m grateful. Someday, we will replace them but for now, the two carat costume stunner I’m wearing lately has kept me from getting mauled by all the single gents in bars. So, there’s that, at least.
But, forgive a girl for missing the ring that was given to her by a boy with bright blue eyes brimming with tears and a heart full of hope and promise. Forgive a gal for hearing the ocean crashing and remembering the catcalls from the bystanders as he got down on one knee and asked the question she’d waited her whole life to hear. Forgive her for remembering the feel of that ring on her hand and for knowing her life was about to begin.
If you can forgive me that, maybe I can forgive myself for losing my rings in a place run by a bear with a lunch basket on a golf cart.