On Saturday I finally collected my engagement ring from the jewellers. It's funny how I suddenly feel much more engaged (if there is a spectrum of being engaged, that is), and how I'm no longer slightly awkward when people look at my finger in expectation when they find out I'm getting married.
Equally, I feel quite conscious of the fact that there is a diamond on my finger, and that how somehow it isn't really 'me'; the beautiful glass owl pendant that Daniel bought me as an engagement gift is much more to my taste - I'm more beads than diamonds, that's for sure!
The ring and the finger it sits on is such a solid symbol, and when it comes to these marriage symbols - many of which are rather expensive and often quite derogatory on the woman's part - I am conscious that the whole matter of a wedding might need some serious consideration, in order for us to do it right, and with sincerity.
But, I am wearing a ring on the fourth finger of my left hand, and I am incredibly proud to be doing so. Not only because of what it means to Daniel and me, but also what it means to carry around on my person a tiny, sparkling reminder of so many amazing things, some which I witnessed, and some which I didn't.
When Daniel decided he was going to propose, he had to bear the terror that is asking my Dad. You see, when my Gran died she left her engagement ring to me, and I had been determined ever since that, if I were ever to wear a diamond, this would be the one I would wear - somehow Daniel had to retrieve this, and the story of how he did it is wonderful and sweet and makes me love him and my Dad and everyone else all the more.
So, when he asked me on that beautiful sunny day on York city walls, he presented me (fully standing, I might add - he's too tall to consider trying to get smoothly down onto one knee when also jittering with nerves) with a ring that I had already seen so many times throughout my childhood. On my Gran's finger as we baked scones in her kitchen, as she cooked me meals and brought me croissants and cereal in bed on the amazing weekends that we spent at her house. When she taught me to play cards and read me stories, when we danced in her kitchen and played tennis in her garden. The ring was there the whole time. The back of the shank of the ring was worn down from sitting between her other rings for so many years; a reminder of the hours of work her hands put in to bringing up her own children, and then caring so wonderfully for her Grandchildren when we were ill, in need of a home for the weekend, or just in search of fun and good company.
Looking at the ring now, I imagine my Grandad, just returned home from Egypt after the war (and still, I realise now, so incredibly young), presenting it to my Gran. It marks the promise of many secure and peaceful years together after six years of war. It represents the start of my family as I know it,and of a love that grew into the comfortable marriage that I loved to nestle in amongst as a child: my Grandad sitting in the garden watching the birds, my Gran bringing out his tea on a tray so he could stay outside at every opportunity. Their unquestioning routines and devotion to one another that I know now was the perfect mix of love, life experience and friendship. I'm planning for nothing more than this combination in my own life with Daniel, and I'm hoping that this ring will be around for many more stories and lifetime wear and tear to come.