Monday, January 5, 2015

No, I'm not superstitious

I'm not superstitious.

How can I be? When I was a child, I was always so careful never to step on a crack. I never wanted to break my mother's back. My mother raised me to be superstitious. Never to walk under a ladder. Never to put shoes on a table. Never open an umbrella in a house. I still managed to break mirrors, no matter how careful I was.

When I was 10, my mother died, and I realized that none of these things protected me from the bad things of the world. The only thing that would get me through was my faith in God, my belief that no matter how awful things are here, there is a greater purpose and plan.

Because of this, probably (I can't say for sure), I don't believe in signs or ghosts or other things I cannot see or feel or touch. Yes, I know that's contradictory. Believe me, I know all too well. But that is how I am, and I really don't see the need to change.

But then there is the ring. It's always a ring, isn't it?

My mother was married three times.

The first time, she was 17. Her husband was 31. They had four children, though only two lived. When my brothers were babies, he left.

The second time, she was 25. Her husband was 54. From all accounts, they were wildly happy, and had me 14 years later. My father died when I was two.

Her third marriage came when she was 43. I'm still not sure how old my stepfather was, but I know he looked far older. He always told me he was 39. They were married until my mother died when I was 10. He followed her to the grave three years later.

I inherited her wedding rings from my father and step-father. Sadly, the ring that my father gave my mother was in my car when it was stolen years ago (I was moving and hadn't unpacked that last load yet). But I still have the ring from my step-father. It's simple white gold, with pretty ridges and some small diamonds. I used to wear it on my right hand.

One day I realized it was gone. I was in my early 20s, and realized I hadn't seen it since putting hand lotion on at my desk at work that day. I searched everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found. Heartbroken, I finally stopped looking.

Months later, there was a note posted on the bulletin board at work. "Ladies ring found, please identify. See guard on duty at desk." Knowing it couldn't possibly be mine, I checked anyway. It was my ring. They had found it moving furniture - it was under the heavy leg of a desk.

I started wearing it again, and several years later, I wore it out dancing with friends one night. My hands got hot and puffy, so I took it off and put it in the pocket of my jacket. When I got home, it was gone. Another night crying. I called the club, and no one had turned it in. It wasn't in my car.

A year later, I was moving. During my last sweep of the apartment, I climbed a stepladder to dust the top shelf in my bedroom closet. I only kept a few boxes and shoes up there - nothing else.

There was my ring.

Once I got over my initial tears of joy, I thought it must be a sign. It had to be. There was no earthly explanation.

Not wanting to press my luck (and yes, I do know how silly that sounds), I stopped wearing it and kept it stored in my jewelry box. Years have passed, I've gained weight, and it doesn't even fit the ring finger on my right hand where I'd worn it.

A couple weeks ago, my son was discovering the treasures there. There's a story for nearly every pin and necklace inside. I told him who I'd received them from, where I'd worn them, what the memories were for each one. Then he found the ring, and I told him the story. He told me I should wear it on a different finger, so I did. It was a bit loose on that finger, but not loose enough that I thought I'd lose it...but I did. By the end of that same day, it was gone.

This time I didn't look for it. It could have been anywhere - home, church, grocery store, gas station. I didn't say a word to anyone. I waited.

New Year's Day I woke before my kids. No surprise, I'd gone to sleep before they did. I went out to the kitchen to make coffee.

And there, right by the coffeemaker, was my ring. When the kids woke, I asked them if either one had put it there. My son Jake answered quickly. "I did. It was right in the middle of the living room floor last night. You really shouldn't leave it out like that."

The floor that I'd swept and dust-mopped and mopped at least three times during those two weeks the ring was missing.

This time I am going to say it's a sign.