A little over 5 years ago I lost a ring.

It was a special ring. It had significance far beyond what I had first thought, the same held true for the person who gave it to me. I had no idea at the time- about the person or the ring. I hope I am getting smarter. It scares me that every five years you look back and think, “Man, I was just stupid.”

These days I try not to hold things in that I think need to be said, and I try not to say the things that I shouldn’t. As our friend Keith would say, “I cuss and discuss as is necessary.” It’s hard because there is definitely a tendency to revert to old behavior or to duck and hide to avoid unchartered terrain. Most of the time I am aware that this is what holds the sweetest reward. So I push myself and try to keep working. Sean and I have always worked hard at us. Sometimes we’re like a well oiled machine, other times it feels like there may be some water in the gas tank…or some other saying that represents the opposite of a well oiled machine. The point is, we continue to work on us.

A couple of weeks ago we went on a date. We were going for dinner to a little place called One Caroline Street Bistro, which has special significance for us (and also happens to be incredibly romantic and consistently amazing with their food and service!) We were both giddy with the intoxication of a night free of distractions. Just some us time. I should note for the record that is was our first date since before our first daughter was born in the fall of 2004. Sure, we’ve had lunch or gone to after hours events for work, but never a date just for the sake of a date. Who could blame us for being an hour early for our reservation? To kill time we popped into a store called Speck. We were drawn in by the name, seemed fun and maybe a little different. Not four steps into the shop we noticed that they had Ed Levin rings, and in fact had the ability to order a replica of the Ed Levin ring I lost years before. We made the order, paid in full and waited a couple of weeks for the call announcing its arrival.

I used to wear the ring on my left ring finger. Sean was in Rochester and I was in Yakima. The ring was a way of hoping out loud and in plain view that things would work out. It didn’t matter that the ring hadn’t been intended for the super symbolic ring finger. Didn’t matter that Sean didn’t know I wore it that way. He had given me a ring, not a promise. I was making a commitment. I’d never committed to anyone before.

But Yakima and Rochester are very far away. Time zones and miles. Lifestyles and responsibilities. The ring was lost at a time when it seemed that maybe we weren’t meant to be, slipping off my finger and clinking across the pavement of a dark parking lot. I searched and searched to no avail. I felt the loss of the ring, its absence from my finger, like the departure of a friend.

Tonight I am wearing our new Ed Levin ring on my finger. My right finger. On my left I wear an engagement ring with a stone from Sean’s family and a simple band we chose together 3 and a half years ago, not far from where Speck now sits. We are married and the parents of 2 wonderful girls. We are working every day at surviving the terrible twos, reveling in Avery’s first year, and finding a rhythm for us. The ring reminds me of a cafe in New York City, two young people trying to decide if they could make it work. It reminds me that we have earned our joy and that there is more in store for us if we only keep working.