The Empty Space

To say I love rings would be an understatement. I’ve lost count how many I have, but I enjoy each and every one of them for one reason or another. If I was trying to figure out where this ring obsession started, I guess I’d have to say it was when my niece was nine. Now keep in mind, this is my ex-brother-in-law’s daughter, so she and I aren’t biologically related, nor are we related anymore by marriage. Because they were running a bit late with their Christmas shopping that year, her parents asked me to keep her busy while they bought her gifts. She and I ended up in the jewelry section at Walmart, and I bought us light blue matching “bling rings.” The next year the same thing happened and, again, we ended up picking out matching rings that were amber-colored. Since we’d done this two years in a row, and since we both enjoyed it each time, I decided to make it a tradition. Over the years, we’ve collected rings that are red, green, purple, copper, gold, multicolored, and turquoise. This month she will be graduating from high school, and a few years ago I made a decision knowing this day would soon arrive. This decision came to fruition yesterday, and it turned out to be a significant moment in my life.

My niece means a lot to me. I’ve known her dad since well before he met her mom. What I am painfully aware of is the fact that she would not even have been in my life had I not met her uncle. Although we’ve been divorced over 3 ½ years now, I have continued our tradition of bling rings with her, and we’ve both continued to enjoy this connection. Now she will be going off to college, and she will be starting her life’s adventure. To commemorate this occasion, yesterday I went to a jeweler because I want to buy her a real ring, not just some costume jewelry. In honor of the tradition, I got us matching rings with one difference this time – each of our rings includes our own birthstone. So, these rings are the same, but slightly different. I know she’ll be excited when she opens her gift, and I’m very glad I was able to fulfill this vision of mine for her.

What made this significant to me was where part of the money came from. After sitting in my jewelry armoire, unworn for years, I traded in my engagement and wedding bands. I got engaged in 1995 and was married in 1996. These rings had been in my possession for a very long time, but yesterday I finally took that final step to close that chapter in my life. What I am now left with is space for this new ring I will share with my niece, and I couldn’t be happier.

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