There are very few things in my life I am truly wedded to. I've shed my skin quite a few times and often the people who get to know me are given to say things like, is there anything you haven't done? I've always been a person who believes that my life is richest when I am experiencing new things.
Of course on the inside things stay pretty much the same, even if they continue to evolve as I get older and wiser. It's just the outside that can appear new.
I think the only thing I can say has always been there, on the outside, is my family. For seven years now I have worn this ring every day as a celebration of the sisterhood of my family.
Three separate elements representing my mother, my sister and myself are embedded in an imprinted monal medallion and then set in a ring. My sister and mother have subtle variations on the same ring. The artist who made them for us, Marion Marshall (sorry no website), spent a long time talking to us and trying to design something that really captured our relationship as well as us as individuals. I could go on about the stories it tells me, but that's another post.
Given my feelings on the transience of the world outside it's not surprising that I have not married. Both my heart and my head tell me that a good number, more than half, of relationships do not endure and I've always thought marriage was like signing on for a contractual obligation you had no capacity to know if you would be able to fulfill. People who go on loving each other stay together and those that don't should part ways.
I have other problems with marriage for me.
On the church side, I just don't have a meaningful connection with that institution. This is not a statement about my spirituality, it is a much more intellectual thing about what churches are and what they do and how binding I would find a commitment made to it's structures.
On the civil side I see the policy makers' definitions of marriage and cohabitation and de facto and significant other as being increasingly interchangeable. I feel no need, nor do I believe I should have to get married to understand my relationship as real. Perhaps if people who got married really truly did ride the waves of better as well as worse for as long as they both lived, I might see that ceremony as something other than what I do.
D and I have been together for nearly fifteen years and I feel more committed, more wedded to him that ever. Maybe if I felt trapped by marriage during the times when we have found it hard to work together I might have left. But I haven't and I am aware that each and every time we choose to work through a bump in the road we do it because we believe in each other and what we are together.
And if ever I had any doubts then having Amy changed that. We may not have married but we now have a living breathing commitment to each other in the form of our children and no matter what comes or goes from here on out, we will always be a part of each other as a consequence.
So when Amy was born D commissioned this ring for me (also from Marion). I love every thing about this ring. It is solid and heavy and strong and tells the story of how two parts come together to embrace a whole new element. A perfect fit. Showing great foresight he had it designed so I could add another ring above it should our union be blessed again.
So I've had the pleasure of not just acquiring another ring to celebrate Wil, but of thinking through what Wil means and how our union has evolved. And I love this piece to bits. It is made by Yuri Fujiyama (purchased here. drool drool) and inspired by Japanese sashiko, which I didn't know when I picked it out but which, given my obsession for fabric and Japan seems entirely predestined.
I look at this and I see the way I have softened, the way organic forms have taken over the hard lines and careful geometry of my pre-child life, the way things are all about layers on layers of different elements glimpsed here and hidden there. But the basic elements, the raw materials are still all there, just in a new configuration. Yuri writes that her pieces are light and yet durable and that's so much more how I see D and I these days. So much less of a burden on each other and yet so much more strongly bound.
So we haven't had a ceremony and I haven't worn the dress and we haven't re mortgaged our home for all our friends to eat rubber chicken but...you know, these rings and all they represent are my daily reminder of what I am wedded to. And I am as happy about that as any bride could be.