I was mixing turkey meatballs for mini the other day, and I removed my engagement ring and wedding band and placed them on the counter, out of reach of the impending cooking fracas. Ten minutes later, as I was drying the last implement I’d dirtied in the process, my heart fell straight to the bottom of my stomach — where were my rings? I felt like the air had been sucked out of my lungs.
After a frantic Cathy-the-comic-like interlude, I found them, tucked underneath a pile of kitchen towels waiting to be tossed into the laundry.
“Rookie mistake,” I thought, illogically, as I have now been married nearly eight years, and I cook nearly every day, and there’s nothing remotely rookie-like about me in nearly any avenue of my life at this time. Alternating waves of relief and frustration with myself washed over me. I grouchily slammed some cabinets closed, brow furrowed.
As I got into bed that night, I tried to unpack why I’d been so annoyed with the episode, and realized, with alarm, that it was the second time in the span of a few days where I’d let a ball drop. The first was when I sauntered into our new pediatrician’s office AN HOUR LATE, as I thought that we had a 10:30 appointment, but the appointment was, in fact, for 9:30. I was mortified. I am not late for anything these days. [College was a different story.] I’ve come to subscribe to Mr. Magpie’s philosophy: if you’re on time, you’re late. Worse, though: this pediatrician has a very strict no-show policy; if you miss more than two, you’re OUTTA THEREEEEE. And it wasn’t a good look for our first introduction to the office. Worse, yet: Mr. Magpie had taken a sick day from work so he could attend mini’s nine-month wellness check with me, and I’d inadvertently blown that plan up to smithereens. I still have no clue how I managed to mess up the timing (maybe I’ve been a little stressed and frantic these days?), and I’ve partly resigned to blaming Google Calendars, because I do think that at some point in the last month, I switched the time zone from CST to EST and everything went haywire — but! Ugh.
It dawned on me that between the missed appointment and the ring, I’d been careless with items of tremendous value twice in the course of a week. I was angry at myself. How could I have been so negligent, so absent-minded? Even though these were relatively small errors, and — ultimately — fixable within a short period of time, I was enraged with myself.
It brought to mind the painful memory of a few months ago, when I was rushing around trying to prep mini for a bath while my parents-in-law prepared dinner downstairs, and I turned a corner too quickly and bumped mini’s head on the wall. She screamed a scream I’d never heard her make before. I was absolutely beside myself for the next two hours straight. Bawling, I called my mother and breathlessly tried to explain what had happened between sobs. She couldn’t quite make out what was happening and I remember her saying, urgently, “Does she need to go to the emergency room?” She didn’t. She was fine. She didn’t even have a bump to show for the incident — but I, on the other hand, still nurse a bruise the size of Alaska on my heart. I felt wretched, unmotherly, incautious, unfit.
“How could I be so careless?” I wailed to my poor mother.
“Oh Jennifer,” she said, “What’s done is done. You didn’t mean for it to happen — and I can tell you this: it will never happen again. Not on your watch.” And it was true. I take corners far more carefully to this day; I tend to place my hand protectively on the back of her head as I make a turn.
So what’s done is done, here, too. I don’t think I’ll ever lose track of my rings again (so THAT’s what ring dishes are for…), and you can bet I’ll be triple checking appointment times from here on out.
But there’s something more to it: I’ve been rushing. I’ve been flitting from one thing to the next, Dory-like: just keep swimming / just keep swimming. And movement is good. My Dad’s motto — “never look back!” — courses through my veins as natural and immediate and inborn as the lightening bolt feeling I get whenever I see Mr. Magpie in a tux or find myself standing to address a room full of people. But there’s something I’m worried I keep losing sight of during this busy time in our lives: perspective. I’m letting details get in the way of the things that matter, losing the forest for the trees. I’m too preoccupied with getting those damn meatballs in the oven. I’ve already written far too much on the topic of my eternal struggle to live in the moment, but I’m very obviously still in the throes, still a work-in-progress. Maybe God threw the ring and missed doctor appointment incidents into the mix as a not-so-subtle reminder to refocus.
Because it’s rather topical given the ring incident above: I’ve been on the hunt for a delicate gold ring to add to the stack I typically wear on my right hand. I almost always wear a ruby and diamond ring I inherited from a great-aunt and then this sweet thin band, which I have engraved with mini’s initials and birth date (under $50!!), but I’d like to add another to the mix. Maybe…
Now…quite the opposite of delicate, but in my hunt, I also fell in love with this statement pearl ring and also love this twist on the classic signet ring. A signet never goes out of style — I like ’em worn on the pinky. You can get a classic engraved with your initial here, or forgo the country club monogram vibe entirely with this clean design. (Would look so chic with a striped poplin statement blouse like this one.)
Also: I do have a ring dish. It’s one of these tole trinket trays, and I adore it. (You can find one on sale for $12 here. Incidentally, a pretty hostess gift!) I keep it on my bedside table, but maybe I also need one for the kitchen? I love this one, even though I haven’t been a bride-to-be in eons.
P.S. On the topic of wedding bands — would you change anything about your wedding day?
P.P.S. On the topic of weddings more generally…are you obsessing over the impending royal nuptials? I have a girlfriend in the media industry who has it on good authority that the engagement may be “for show” (gassppppp). But, I’m still into it. I’ll take a bit of happy, love-focused news over the standard death and doom fare. And if you are, too, you should read this delicious novel about an American gal who falls for the prince of England…one of my all-time favorite beach reads.