January 21, 2017 — We fall together as soon as we get inside the room. I’m back in Orlando after not seeing Mario for several weeks and we are making up for lost time. We vow to avoid such a long stretch again. And, excitement: last week on the phone he asked me to marry him and I said: “Ok!” (Face-palm! Sometimes I’m so eloquent. D’oh!)
While I’m visiting, his kids are with his parents and mine are with Jake, except this time my daughter’s father is going to take her for part of the weekend. I want her dad to step up his parenting, but at the same time his recent antics make me worry about his judgment.
The morning of the Women’s March, we take Mario’s 16-year-old son to breakfast. I wear my Hillary shirt and a button that says “love.” His son asks about the march and decides to come along. I’m excited that his son wants to participate, as opposed to sitting at home playing Xbox.
At Lake Eola, a large crowd is forming. It’s much bigger than I expect! We wait through technical problems and then listen to the speakers. We march, chat and admire different posters. The crowd stretches around the lake. Mario’s son asks “What does feminism mean?” And we talk about how women’s rights are human rights. The experience is cathartic.
Later we snuggle on the sofa and talk about getting married. “I don’t want a ring,” I announce — I tend to blurt things out. I feel pressure to have a conversation about it, mainly because my first marriage was an elopement. Jake got me a tiny ring — all he could afford at the time — right before he shipped out to war in Iraq with the Marines. (He likes to joke that he thought he was going to die; and I like to joke that he promised he would.)
At any rate, after Jake safely returned, I thought about having a ceremony and reception, but my mother brushed it off saying “who would come? You’ve already been married a year.” We took the money we would have spent and put it towards a little house in D.C., which turned out to be a great-investment-turned-money-pit when we renovated it.
The cost of a ring seems high for something that I view as sort of frivolous. I’m not much of a jewelry person and I very much over-think purchases. I mean, I’ve been shopping for a new refrigerator for about 14 months (I really want the Samsung with the built in Ipad and cameras . . . and holy crap as I write this I just checked the link and it’s on sale! <3). Can I strap that to my hand instead? I ask Mario.
“Is it really very expensive if you look at the length of our marriage?” he asks. Damn it! He knows I love to talk “price per use” about stuff — I’m stuck. Then he shows me some pictures of the rings he’s been eyeing. I’m speechless. Mainly because he’s been eyeing rings — and also, how do I say this nicely? Ugliest. Rings. Ever. Well, perhaps I am exaggerating a bit (but not much). Clearly we have different tastes when it comes to jewelry. I think he just wanted to get me involved.
My first time around my rings were white gold and platinum. I decide if we are doing rings, I want the opposite of what I had. I want something that reflects the passion, color and fire of our relationship: rose gold. We look at a billion pictures of rings.
There are so many gorgeous rings out there it is very hard to narrow it down! I want to make sure the diamond isn’t a conflict stone or from a region that is suffering due to the diamond trade. We settle on a ring with a diamond from Brilliant Earth (www.BrilliantEarth.com), which has a policy of non-conflict stones.
O.M.G. I can’t believe I’m getting married!