In the past few weeks, I have made a concerted effort to leave the house after dinner on Mondays and Wednesdays for yoga class at the YMCA. With Christmas just two weeks away, I was tempted tonight to stay home and check another item off my holiday to-do list. But my husband, who is a very generous and somewhat masochistic man (hello, he voluntarily takes on bathtime for both boys all by his lonesome),strongly suggested that I go to class tonight. "It's important for you to have time away, and we'll be fine," he reminded me. "You should go."
As it was already 6:55 and class begins promptly at 7:30, I ran upstairs and threw on some yoga wear. I had already come downstairs to grab my coat and purse when I realized that I was still wearing my engagement/wedding rings (I don't usually wear them during yoga practice because they bug me; don't know why, they just bug me). Instead of running upstairs, I decided to save time and put my rings on the kitchen island before heading out the door. I slid the rings off my finger and reached toward the countertop.
Then my life slid into Matrix-like slow motion. Somehow I lost my grip on the engagement ring and stared, horrified and immobile, as it bounced off the tile floor and slipped perfectly between the slats of the heating vent. Clang, clatter, clatter, clang, clink... Silence. My ring was gone.
"HUSBAND! I NEED YOU!" I screamed down toward the family room. Thinking I must have sliced off a finger or something, the CDR came rushing up the stairs with Baby Kel in his arms. "What happened?" he demanded. I pointed at the heating vent, held out the hand that still contained my lonely little wedding band, and then began to cry. "I lost my ring," I blubbered repeatedly. "I lost my ring!"
In true XO fashion, the CDR took calm control of the situation. He put Kel in his Exersaucer, then hugged me tight and whispered, "It will be okay. I need you to be calm. It will be okay. I will find the ring."
I went into the living room to retrieve the Kleenex box as my husband collected his arsenal of rescue tools. Flashlight? Check. Pressed powder compact with adjustable mirror? Check. Tongs to hold said compact? Check. We moved the island far enough away from the vent that we could crouch on either side of the opening, then set to work. I used the tongs to slowly lower the compact mirror into the vent as the CDR peered down inside with the flashlight. I rotated the mirror from side to side and held my breath.
"Wait! Turn it back to the left!" called the CDR excitedly. "I think I see it!" I turned the mirror as requested.
"No, I was wrong," he sighed. "That's not it."
I knelt back and felt the tears begin again their steady descent from eye to chin. I couldn't believe how calm the CDR was about the situation. This ring isn't just special to me. It's a part of his family history. The diamond and setting of my engagement ring originally belonged to the CDR's maternal great-grandmother. It was an anniversary gift, and it had been passed down to him from his grandparents.
By now, both children knew that something was not right with the world. When Mo came upstairs and saw me crying, he immediately went into comfort mode. "Don't worry, Mama," he assured me as he patted my arm. "Daddy will find the ring. And if you need to take a little rest, you can go lay on your bed."
"Thanks, love," I replied as I walked over to retrieve a mightily fussy Kel from the Exersaucer. I sat down in the living room and pulled the laptop over to begin my Internet research on how to retrieve a lost engagement ring from a forced-air heating system.
Meanwhile, the CDR had disappeared to the downstairs family room, clattering about in the crawlspace. He came back upstairs and the house became eerily quiet.
Then my life slid into Matrix-like slow motion again, as my dear husband rounded the corner and knelt before me, reaching for my left hand. I wept tears of relief and joy as he slipped that beautiful diamond back onto my finger. "This is for you," he whispered. "I love you."
"Now," he continued gently, "will you please, please stop crying?"