If It Ain’t Broken… Fix it Anyway.

Re-post from facebook, Aug. 1, 2010

I’m re-posting this, a few days after Mother’s Day. Had to dig to find it, and I’m happy to report that my mother’s ring is intact, fixed, and secure on my right hand almost two years later. However, it could use a polishing, once again.

By Amee Catherine Bohrer

My motto has always been “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Today, I realized that’s a better retort than a model for your life– and it’s time to change.

When I was 21, my dad gave me my Mother’s engagement ring for Christmas. (She died when I was young.)

I was overwhelmed, and was a beautiful symbol of my father’s love for my mother– and that he considered me an adult woman. He had chosen a few special items of hers to save for me, but I had grown up with those. It felt like a rite of passage to receive her ring, as if *she* was telling me that was proud of me– that she was still here with me.

It makes me feel close to her, and I’ve worn it as much as I dared since. I wear it on my right ring finger, which is the appropriate way. It’s a modest diamond, in a beautiful and antique setting. It’s nothing flashy– but elegant. I especially feel close to her when wearing it, because we have the same size ring finger. Growing up without being able to compare myself to my mother physically, it gave me solace to have evidence that biologically, I resemble her.

I’ve only removed it to have it cleaned and stopped wearing it for awhile because the band was wearing out and didn’t want to lose it. Recently, I began wearing it again.

I am such a procrastinator. Yesterday, God gave me a very clear message that I need to take better care of my things. First, the band broke at the bottom, and then the ring completely split in two. Thankfully, the diamond is intact, and it was a clean break. It can be repaired and cleaned up.

I was at work when it happened, pitching cat food. I felt it give way on my finger, and then loosen. The worst thing would have been if I had been doing something and not noticed until the band was gone. It would have ended up on the floor– someone would have considered it trash or stolen it for the diamond.

I broke character and glanced down, crestfallen. “My mother’s ring,” I said. I was speaking to an older lady, and she wasn’t sympathetic in the least. I awkwardly tried to continue, but was too distracted. “I need to fix this,” I said, “I need to put this away.” I had been trying to convert her– and had fumbled. She said she’d “think about it,” and I gave her a card with our website and my recommendation. She went on her way.

I gingerly removed the remnants of my mother’s ring, and held the pieces in my palm. Once brilliant, they now appeared ordinary, dull. There was no luster– I hadn’t cleaned it in months. I marveled at the fact that the meaning behind this ring is what empowers it to be so beautiful. Although it’s gorgeous and I receive compliments on it often– I hadn’t taken care of it. When I had gone on vacation recently, my mother’s family had commented on it– even some old friends of my parents.

“I remember this ring,” my cousin Kristi had said, with obvious affection and nostalgia.

The empty space on my right ring finger is slightly pale, my finger still conformed to the shape of the ring. I feel lonely without it, sad. Like a part of me is missing– part of my finger.

I didn’t cry. I calmly called my parents– my Dad and Diane– and related what had happened. They both answered the phone, and said, “We’ll get it fixed for you, don’t worry.”

Part of me felt even more sad that I *wasn’t* crying– like I should. Guilty. But a part of me was also proud– that I’m able to recognize the importance of this event without breaking– and go on. I think my mother would be proud of that. I was able to be logical– I lovingly placed the ring in a zippered pocket of my purse, and stored the purse in my trunk for safekeeping.

Then I returned to work.

I didn’t cry because my mother’s ring is broken, but not lost. It’s broken, but not destroyed. I may be years late in doing it, but I’m able to fix it, and I know exactly what to do.

Diane happens to work in a fine jewelry store, where I can have the repairs done. When I was younger, I didn’t want her touching my mother’s ring– it felt wrong. This ring is an anachronism— from a time period of my life that she has no place in. I was very adamant that Diane have nothing do with the process– I didn’t even want her handling it.

But now? Diane and my Dad have been married 15 years, together 20. I’ve grown up with her. We’ve grown into a friendship as adult women, if not necessarily a typical mother-daughter dynamic.

Now, I trust Diane. Rather than feeling threatened, I realize that things come full-circle in allowing my step-mother to help fix my mother’s ring. She respects the marriage of my parents, and the memory of my mother. And in fixing this ring, she’s doing something very maternal– taking care of me.

The next time she works is Tuesday, and I happen to be off. I will take my ring in with her.

Although I’m sad that my mother’s ring will not return intact in its original form, I look forward to regarding it as a new, better entity.

In the meantime, I will go to Mass today, and express my gratitude for this opportunity.

In the meantime, I will take Barney (my car) in for an oil, lube and filter– long overdue. Rather than just take my car to Delta Sonic for a perfunctory cleaning, I will wash it myself. I will get on my knees with a hand-held vacuum and clean up the miscellaneous particles littering my floor. Brush away the dust on the dashboard. And take pride in caring for a possession that has served me well for 10 years.

And when my mother’s ring is ready, I will pick it up and treat it with the reverence my mother deserves. I will have it taken in when the band shows signs of wear. I will purchase some cleaner and polish it regularly. I will treat this beautiful symbol of my parents love for each other with more respect.

I will slip her ring back onto my right hand, and let the luster bedazzle me once more.


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