Those weren't my words, they were my older sister's and she would often repeat them to my little mum whenever she'd go home for a visit. Ooooh, boy, did that make my little mum mad. It wasn't just the ring set Dad purchased for Mom in Alaska one year that brought the comment, but a few other family pieces that she'd long ago decided were rightfully hers as the firstborn daughter. I'm not sure why she felt it was okay to bring it up time after time, but she did and it didn't sit well with Mom. Suzanne was a wounded soul and she would often show her ugly side at the most inopportune times.
My little mum was the sweetest thing. She was kind and generous. She opened her home to anyone and would not be satisfied until she'd fed them and offered them drink. She had a cute high-pitched giggle that would end almost as soon as it began. She had a little French-Canadian accent that always made me laugh when she would talk about the first, second or turd...whatever. Then she'd wave her little finger at me and tell me to eat poop (in French, of course). She was so cute.
Ah, yes, well, one day, Suzanne had commented on her right of ownership just one too many times. When she left the room, my mom leaned in and said to me conspiratorially, "I have half a mind to give it to you just to piss her off!" Now my little mum rarely said "pissed" so I knew she was steaming. I just begged her not to because I didn't think I would survive Suzanne's wrath. Oy.
A week before my wedding, my mom handed me the wedding band that Sue had always claimed. I don't even remember the moment now, but I know that my mother insisted that I have it and wear it on my wedding day. She was very insistent and I knew it was important to her for all the right reasons. So I took it and after twenty-eight years, it is still on my finger.
The worst part, though, the very worst part occurred on my 25th birthday six months after my wedding. Jim and I were living with my parents because we were in transition. He'd just graduated from seminary and I was about to start my student teaching. Jim would be moving to a church in Massachusetts and I would follow him in March once my teaching requirement was done. My birthday was on a Sunday. Jim and I walked home from church to a warm and favorite meal Mom had prepared just for me. We sat down to eat, Mom, Dad, Jim and me. In between dinner and dessert, Mom placed a small box in front of me. I had no clue what was inside that box when unwrapping it. Still clueless, I opened the box and lost. my. breath. Inside the box was the matching diamond engagement ring to the band I had previously received. The tears just poured down my cheeks. I don't know which feeling was the strongest---the joy I felt at receiving something I never thought would be mine or the fear that struck me, wondering just how Suzanne would react. Oh, dear.
Suzanne lived in Florida at the time, so I was safe for a bit. I have no idea when my mom told Suzanne about the ring or what was said. Suzanne never said a word. Two years later, that drunk driver would change her life forever and I wished for a time that she'd had just a moment to enjoy the rings as her own.
Twenty-six years after I received the diamond ring, I presented it to my daughter on her 25th birthday. A tradition had been born. I waited with great anticipation to pass it on. She waited all her life to receive it. Now it's her turn to pass it on.
Pas De Deux
8 months ago