Once upon a time I was the same age as my daughter is now. Nineteen and crazy in love. My husband (who I’ve been married to for the past 25 years) and I had been dating for about six months, and my mother had fantastic tickets to U2. She was in a bit of a party phase back then, after just recently being divorced, and she got “coolest mom of the year” bonus points for taking me along and letting me stand with her on 8th row seats as she swooned over Bono. I was much more interested in the guy to my left.
Consequently, he asked me to marry him on the way to the concession stand. We had just cleared the last row of ground-level seats and there was a wide open space and this HUGE applause coming from in front of us, and Bono beginning his serenade of “I’m gonna run to you, run to you, run to you…. woman be still….” behind us. There were thousands of people in there. The music was deafening. The thrill of all those fans when he began that song was hanging ripe in the air…. but I was starry-eyed, just looking at my guy, holding his hand, smiling at him through the dark concert laser light show since I couldn’t talk with all that noise surrounding us.
He leaned in and yelled into my ear (I told you it was loud)… “Want to get married?”
I couldn’t have dreamed up a better question. I thought about him from the moment I got up, to the moment I went to bed. I knew that I wanted to marry him already. I didn’t want to seem like a pushover, though… and hey – a girl has her standards. I told him no. I didn’t exactly say it like that, but I have no idea how I put it in a short scream. On the way home that night he asked me why I said no. I told him a guy was supposed to be on his knees and have a ring.
He must have heard only the first part. The next week he took me to a park (across the street from where my mom grew up without even knowing it), and knelt down and asked me for my hand in marriage. There was no way I was going to wait another week before I said yes, regardless of whether he had a ring or not. I said yes, and he asked me to go with him to pick out a ring and “he would pay me back on payday”.
I married for love; obviously. It helped a lot that he was cute, too.
So we went together to Service Merchandise … a place that’s not even around any more… and picked a ring out. I have tiny hands, so I got a dainty, tiny ring. I wore it for ten years before he told me he wanted me to have a bigger one that he paid for. I would have worn it forever.
When he slipped that ring off my finger to “upgrade” it to my current ring, we were 29 and 31. I moved my dainty little “Want to get married?” ring to a gold chain with a little gold K (for Kevin) and still wear it (albeit not every day) today.
My grandma laughed at us for the ring story, and she gave me a cracker-jack box gold band one year because I didn’t like wearing a band. She thought it was hilarious that I “bought my own ring” before he paid me back. She liked Kevin a lot, though. Over the years, I thought about it, and remembered that he did give me a ring when we first met. Our first “date” we went to a park and he brought me pizza. There was a Little Caesar’s ring in the box. He slipped it on my hand like a gentleman and made me laugh.
It all goes to show you that you don’t need a lot of money if you have love. I’ve heard it said that attitude is everything. This is partially true. However, gratitude is the key to a good attitude. Without one, you’ll have a hard time mustering up the other. So much more is possible when you are thankful for what you’ve been given (and in some cases, what you’ve been dealt).
Here’s to cheap plastic rings that begin long 25-year marriages. Here’s to going to the JP if you can’t afford a fancy wedding.
Here’s to tiny things turning in to bigger ones over time.
Here’s to love that lasts a lifetime, for richer or for poorer.