Here's the story about the ring
Take a little ride on the way-back machine with me, ok? This may be a long one:
Some time in the late 80's, our house was robbed. It was Mother's Day and my family had been out all day visiting both grandmothers for most of the day. We came through the front door and something was wrong... it's hard to put your finger on what exactly it was, since there was little evidence that anything had happened from just stepping through the front door. The best i can say is that there was a "feeling" of things not being as we had left it? My father bounded through to the kitchen and found that the window on the back door had been smashed and the door unlocked from the inside. He called the police.
The television, fancy new VCR and stereo were all still there (1986 was good to my family - it was the only year that i remember there being money and my parents bought all new...well, everything). In fact everything on the first floor was in tact. It was when my parents went upstairs, that they found what the thieves were after.
All of my mother's jewelry was gone. Her walk-in closet had been completely ransacked, all of the clothes that had been hung neatly, were all in piles on the floor. On top of the clothes, everything that had been stacked up on the shelves - shoes, quilts, sweaters all on the floor. All of the drawers from her dresser and their contents were strewn about on the bed, on the floor, the furniture. They had found her jewelry box and seemingly picked their way through it and only took what was real, leaving behind whatever costume jewelry she had. Heirlooms, antiques, sentimental pieces were all gone. All of the jewelry my father had given her; all gone. Including her engagement ring. Mom was crushed.
Happy Mother's Day.
As is expected, the next day my parents had an alarm system installed in the house, and since then, my mother has kept all of her new jewelry in a closet "where no one will think to look". However, my mother no longer had her engagement ring and my parents did not have the means to replace it. (This really is not important anymore since they haven't been together since 1996, but whatever).
Aunt Sue was my Great-Grandmother's (my mother's grandmother) youngest and last remaining sibling. She had died earlier that year and it had been left up to her niece, my Great Aunt Mary, to settle her estate. Aunt Sue never had any children, so her valuables were left to Aunt Mary - including her engagement and wedding rings.
Aunt Sue was a wonderful, sweet woman – a little wacky in that old-world Italian way – but a sweet lady whom I enjoyed visiting when I was little. She loved having us kids in the house since she was unable to have her own, and I fondly remember playing in her yard around some flowering fruit tree… memories are strange that way, I guess.
In any event, Aunt Mary gave my mom Aunt Sue's engagement ring as a replacement and I have always, always loved that ring. I admired it when my mother would occasionally wear it, but mostly, I would take it out of her jewelry hiding spot and try it on without disturbing the contents of the hiding spot so mom wouldn’t know I was in there.
I had asked my mother years ago, if she would be opposed to giving me the ring if or when I ever got engaged and she was hesitant. In our family (and I would assume in many cultures), it is not traditional to pass a ring like this to a daughter for her engagement. If it was going to go to anyone, it would be to my older brother to give to his girlfriend, should he ever propose to her. And of course, my always-fair mother, “I don’t have two rings. What would I give to your brother if I gave this one to you?” Right. So, I talked to Brother M. His reaction was basically, “It's not like I’m going to wear it – you can have it if you want”.
TheBoy knew all about this. I’ve been talking about this ring for years. (Not obsessively, mind you.. I realize how this is starting to sound). So he called my mother last Wednesday and asked if he could come over. He asked her for her blessing and asked to use the ring that I wanted. And she very easily gave it to him, (but not before making him promised to make sure I took care of it, because apparently I’m not careful with my things. THANKS, MOM. So not true, by the way).
When he opened the little black velvet box for me on Thursday night, I was shocked to see it. I was shocked by the whole ordeal, but seeing that ring was such a nice surprise.
I have my Great-Great Aunt Sue’s 1930-something platinum engagement ring. I feel so lucky.
However, after telling other people about it, I’ve gotten mixed reactions. I had a short e-mail conversation with -R- about this when she mentioned in a post that her engagement ring was from her side of the family and she said that her family saw nothing wrong with that. People I know have either thought that the sentimentality of it all was so much more important to me than it would ever be to my brother’s girlfriend if he were to have gotten it and that it was wonderful that i was given this ring. Yet others have expressed surprise (sometimes confusion) that a girl would have gotten a ring from her own family.
What do you think? Would you have wanted a ring from your own family? His family? Preferred a new one that was all yours? Does it matter to you at all? Really, I’m curious (*and really will not be offended! I’ve heard it all this week! Promise!)