14: A Tiny Ring

14: A Tiny Ring

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

A Tiny Ring

Our wedding was many years ago. The celebration continues to this day.

~Gene Perret

“I want to marry you, but there is just one thing,” Bob said, as we were talking about our future and the possibility of marriage. “Mellissa.”

Mellissa was my six-year-old daughter. I had married young, right out of high school. Mellissa, or Missy as we called her, was born the next year. She was diagnosed with medical problems, and my immature marriage couldn’t handle the strain. I was divorced at twenty.

Bob and I had met when Missy was two. I was not looking for a relationship. I was a young mom working two jobs and trying just to make ends meet. Bob was like our weekend dad. He was fun-loving and full of joy. He would play Barbies with Missy and take us out for meals that included a toy. He won Missy’s heart within a few months. It took a little longer for me to heal and trust. Four years later, Bob won my heart, and renewed my hope in marriage and the possibility of a family.

I couldn’t understand what was so troubling to him now. “What is the problem, honey? She loves you,” I said. “This will be so good for her, for us.”

“This is so big,” he kept saying. “Being Mellissa’s father is so scary. I’m thinking about the importance of the role that I will play in her whole life. I mean, being a husband is huge, but being a dad?”

I wasn’t sure what I should say or do. Was he changing his mind?

The next week, he came to me with a tiny ring and some handwritten vows. I could tell that he had been crying.

“I want to ask Missy to marry me,” he said. “I want to give her a ring, and I have written vows to her, promises to be a good father.” I was speechless.

“I want to commit to her in the same way that I will commit to you,” he continued, “to be there for her for the rest of her life.”

He paused. “If I marry you, I know — I have always known — I marry her, too.”

Our wedding day came, and our friends and family gathered. When it came time for our vows and ring exchange, the ceremony went as planned. Bob and I read our vows to each other and placed the wedding rings on each other’s hands. Then the pastor announced that Bob would like to give Missy a ring and share his vows to her.

I don’t know why I thought that I would get through it just fine, but nothing could have prepared me for that moment. I watched my darling little daughter’s face as Bob knelt down beside her, trembling and weeping, as he read his promises to her. He took her tiny hand in his big, strong hand while he slipped the little ring on her finger. It was then that I noticed the faces of my family. They were all crying — my dad, uncles, and brother were sobbing as they watched one of the most tender and loving moments ever witnessed.

Twenty-four years have passed, and each September we celebrate our anniversary — Bob, Mellissa, and me. It is hard to remember back to a time when I had lost my hope for marriage and a family. Sometimes, I take out my old jewelry box, open it up, and hold the tiny ring. I close my eyes and say a prayer of thanks for promises, second chances, and love.

~Lori Bryant

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