I found my ring.
In a gift bag filled with a great many odds and ends that don’t relate to one another in any way whatsoever…there it was.
It’s been missing for awhile and I can only imagine that I gathered the things from various places around the house…placed them in a gift bag for easy gathering and carrying…then placed the bag on the steps to be taken upstairs where likely, it was filled with more things, until eventually…I hauled the bag to my room and poked it on the back knob of my closet door where it remained forgotten…until found.
My ring was at the bottom.
Immediately, I placed it on my finger…and remembered.
It was 2009…April…just a few months from when my marriage exploded when my parents whisked the kids and I to Mexico to get away from it all. I remember calling my ex to discuss taking the children out of school and away for a few days…then filling out forms to have notarized in order to gain permission from their father to travel with them out of country. It all seemed surreal.
The trip was a gift from Mom and Dad…and incredibly needed as both the children and I needed space to breathe away from the chaos that was happening in our lives. I remember little of it. Despite the warm weather and the sun beating down on me…I was still in a zombie state…wrapped in a fog. I went through the motions but my life was in shambles. I forced myself to smile while absolutely miserable and yet…I so enjoyed watching my children have a bit of fun and was unbelievably appreciative of my parents for taking us away knowing there was little they could do to help me…but trying all the same.
When I look at photos…I’m reminded of enjoyable moments with my family…but hidden behind the smile was so much uncertainty about my future.
Added to the discomfort…not long before we packed for our vacation, I learned that my ex and former best friend would be travelling at the very same time…different sunny location…different resort…but I kept getting slapped in the face each time I saw couples frolicking in the pool or holding hands at the beach knowing that my ex was enjoying a romantic vacation in a new relationship while I was desperately and horribly alone. A friend’s words kept ringing in my ears throughout my trip…”one person’s heartache is the beginning of another person’s love story.” I hated seeing happy couples feeling more rage than one could possibly imagine while trying to relax poolside with a margarita in hand!
On top of everything else…on the last few days of our vacation came news of an outbreak of influenza that soon became known as “swine flu.” The resort began clearing out as folks quickly vacated their umbrella drinks and loungers and the next wave of hotel guests never arrived since Mexico had been put on the “do not vacation there” list. We found ourselves somewhat stranded despite all efforts to find a flight to take us back to Canada…and we waited out our final days as resort activities were cancelled due to lack of guests and a few of the restaurants closed up.
I was at the airport, awaiting our flight home and standing in the gift shop purchasing gum and snacks for the flight…when I saw a display of silver rings. Costing only ten dollars (which was about what I could afford) I picked out my favourite…sure it would turn my finger green in no time but wanting something to mark my week away with the 5 people who mean the absolute world to me.
We arrived home…quarantined to the house for a few days on arrival where we took a wee rest from our vacation. I posted smiling photos of our trip away for all to see…then discovered I was oddly tagged in all of the photos posted from my ex’s vacation. So, despite “imagining” what their trip was like…I ended up seeing it with my very own eyes.
Here we are…nine years later and my finger hasn’t turned green! This silver ring is worth far more than the $10 I paid. It represents all of the chaos, determination and resilience it took to get from there to here. It’s about “family first”…gathering together in the toughest times and slapping a smile on your face even if you’re going through the motions. It reminds me of how young my kids were when life changed for all of us…the vacation that got me off the living room couch and started our days discovering our “new normal”…creating memories and finding strength in one another. It reminds me of my parents…always there…cheering me on…having my back.
It’s a reminder of everything I’m grateful for….wrapped up in this priceless, ten dollar ring.