Today’s post is actually something I wrote for my friend Michelle over at Miss Banana Pants a few months ago. But over the past few weeks, there have been some incidents that have left me needing a reminder about the lesson which prompted me to write the post in the first place. So, I figured it’d be a good time to re-read this and share it with you again.
So, this happened a few months ago:
That is my wedding ring. And that is what it looked like after a fire fighter had to cut it off of my finger. There was no gnarly accident or trauma that required this happen. There was simply my own stupidity. Or stubbornness. We’ll go with stubbornness.
It all started about 7 months into my third pregnancy. My body started getting, how shall I say, extra puffy. It was summertime and I was retaining water like crazy. I was swelling up so badly that I had to remove my engagement and wedding rings. Not uncommon; I had to do it a few weeks before delivering my second, so I wasn’t surprised. And I assumed, just as with the first time, I’d have those puppies back on a week or so after having the baby. No biggie.
Fast forward to 8 months after having said baby, and those suckers still were not fitting on my finger. Every week or so I’d pull the rings out from my underwear drawer (because that is a good place to keep valuables) and try the get them back on. But nope. I was so perplexed. I weighed less than I did when I was able to get them back on after baby #2. What the heck?! Were my fingers just permanently obese after this third kid? Back in the drawer the rings went.
And then one day a few weeks later, I was feeling a little lighter around the fingers. Don’t ask me why, but I could just sense that my rings were going to fit that day. So I got them out, took a deep breath, and tried to get them on. And wouldn’t you know, my wedding band went on. It took just a little coaxing, but not much. “Phew! Finally,” I thought to myself. So then I went to get my engagement ring on. I should have stopped when I felt the initial resistance, but I was so determined to wear it again that I just kept pushing and twisting until it finally went on.
I realized almost immediately that I had just made a grave mistake. In no more than 30 seconds, my finger began to swell up all around my rings. Awww nuts! So down to the kitchen I went. Straight for the olive oil. I dumped nearly the whole bottle on my hand. And started twisting.
Nope. That wasn’t working. So I moved on to dish soap. I’d run my hand under frigid water for a few minutes, pour soap on it, and then twist. After about 45 minutes of this, and some extreme pain, I finally managed to free my engagement ring. Then it was on to my wedding band.
Nope again. After all of the trauma from getting my engagement ring off, my finger was so completely swollen that it looked like it might actually explode. And I started losing a little bit of feeling. So naturally, I started to panic.
After giving my finger a break and soaking it in an ice bath for like 30 minutes (that does not feel good, btw), I was back at it. And over the next few hours (yes, hours!), I tried everything I could think of or that I found on the internet to get that ring off my finger. Nothing was working.
I finally texted my husband at work to tell him what was going on and told him I thought I’d have to get my ring cut off. When he got home, he looked at my finger and agreed.
While searching the internet earlier in the day about how to remove rings from swollen fingers, I learned that most firehouses have the tools to cut them off. So I called our local firehouse to see, and sure enough, the guy I spoke with made it seem like they did that kind of stuff every day. “C’mon down,” he said. “We’ll take care of you.”
And so I went. It was around 8:30 at night, and instead of finding a quiet firehouse like I assumed I would, this night of all nights was a training night, so there were like 50 firefighters hanging around.
I was greeted by a friendly younger guy who said he’d have me outta there in 2 minutes. He already had the ring cutter tool ready and waiting. So he sat me down and went to work. And I’ll tell ya, the sound of metal on metal, the sound of my wedding band getting cut apart, made me cringe.
But you know what? I didn’t cry like I thought I would. In fact, looking back, I hadn’t cried once during the whole experience. And I’m a crier. Like big time. I cry at everything. The birth of my children, touching music, movies, commercials. EVERYTHING.
I shrugged it off and figured the waterworks would begin in the car on the way home when I was alone and didn’t have all of the firefighters staring at me. But no. I didn’t cry then, either. And I didn’t cry when I got home and showed my husband my ring, or anytime that night. Not even the next day. Or the next. My tears never came.
And then I realized why. Although my ring was a symbol of love between my husband and I—till death do us part and all of that—it was only a symbol. A thing. Never before had the words on this wall hanging that we’ve had since the very first place we ever lived together rang more true:
Our love itself…that, in fact, was not broken. All I had to do was look around to see it and the vows we took on our wedding day alive and well. In the home we made together. The children we made together. The life we made together. These are all shining examples of our love. And they are not broken. Far from it.
I may have lost a ring that day, but over the past 10 years, I have gained so much more. “Things” that truly are irreplaceable!
To see my original post — The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things — over on Miss Banana Pants, please click here.
July 15, 2013 at 9:28 am
I lost my wedding band a few weeks ago. It’s been loose for awhile but I stubbornly wore it anyway. I’m trying to not be heartbroken over it because like you said, it’s just a thing and not a true reflection of my marriage. I keep feeling for it around my finger and hoping that it’ll show up in some unexpected place, like under the dog bed. I look at our kids and at my husband’s smile and know all is right in the world but I miss my ring. Thanks for this post. Maybe it’ll help be get one step closer to letting it go.
July 15, 2013 at 10:59 pm
Awww, I’m sorry. I’m super sentimental too, and I think part of the reason I didn’t get too upset is because I still have the ring and can get it fixed. I’d probably be a little more upset if I lost it. Hope yours pops up somewhere!
July 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Glad you were eventually able to get the ring off. Thank goodness for everyday super hero firefighters 🙂
July 15, 2013 at 10:59 pm
Thank goodness is right!
July 16, 2013 at 6:35 pm
And now you’re making ME cry! That is so sweet, good for you for not getting upset.
Oh boy can I relate! So many times (2 pregnancies) I forced the rings back on before their time. EVEN THOUGH I almost lost a finger when we first picked out our rings, b/c my husband’s friend forced a tight ring on my fat finger and we could NOT get it off. He kept spraying cold WINDEX on my hand and wouldn’t let it rest, so it swelled up more and more and more until his friends FATHER, gave us some ice and told us to just relax for awhile and VOILA, it finally popped off. My baby is 18 months old and they are STILL TIGHT! I’m sure yours fingers are back in their fighting shape by now 🙂 and hopefully you got a brand new shiny ring!
July 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm
Oh Joy, don’t cry! And no, my fingers still aren’t down to their pre-baby days, but I’m getting there. Just need to stop stuffing my face with donuts, lol.
July 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm
I have mine stored in one of a few junk drawers in my kitchen. This summer lord only knows why, I have broken out with a rash around my ring finger. I jokingly told my hubs I was allergic to marriage. It’s weird bc I haven’t had it on for a while now while I wait for my freakish rash to go away and have not once worried about being perceived as a single mom. I look at my ring rash and seem pretty much ok in knowing I got the greatest hubs, I don’t need the ring there to remind me.
July 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm
Yikes, I’ve gotten some of those rash rings before, mostly just in the summer, so annoying. And I’ve actually been wearing a temporary ring in place of my wedding rings until I can get them back on/fixed. It was like $10 from Kohls and I’ve gotten so many compliments on it, ha ha ha.
July 17, 2013 at 11:25 pm
So so beautiful! I love when life surprises us and we surprise ourselves. I often expect myself to feel or think a certain way and am shocked to find that’s not my reality at all. It’s like we grew up and matured a little without even noticing. About 2 years into our marriage I looked down one day and the center stone of my engagement ring was gone- gone. G-O-N-E, gone! I had no idea when it fell out. I though I’d be devastated. I was only 26 and my wedding ring was the only piece of “real” jewelry I owned. It represented so much. But as my husband stared at me wide eyed and told me how sorry he was, I was calm. Totally calm. “It’s a ring,” I said. “It’s not us. Just a ring.” And I happily bought a $75 sapphire at a gem faire one day to replace it. Because ultimately, it didn’t matter. Glad you felt the same way;)
July 18, 2013 at 9:12 am
I like when we surprise ourselves as well. 🙂
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July 24, 2013 at 8:28 am
My husband just lost his after 5 years of marriage. I say “just” because he almost lost it on our honeymoon flight, so the fact that he kept it until now is pretty impressive.
July 26, 2013 at 9:17 am
Oh my gosh, my husband almost lost his on our honeymoon, too. It was a little big, and we were swimming and it slipped off. Luckily he had quick reflexes and grabbed it before it was taken away by a wave. Yeesh.