The second meeting of the family. The faces were familiar this time, the hugs even warmer, the kisses even closer.
This is TC's... wife? Fiance? Just kidding. Girlfriend... for now.
That's why we all say, you're a keeper!
TC, bring her by before you go to the airport tomorrow, okay?
Lauren, my grandmother is looking for you.
And the kicker. We were at dinner. He got a text. His mother.
"I brought grandma's ring to give to you. You can have the diamonds re-set and give it to Lauren."
He showed it to me. "Look what my mom said." He shook his head, a little smile. I asked what he replied. "I told her to keep it until I'm ready." Very logical. As always. We didn't speak of it again.
I want to marry him. We talk realistically about it all the time. But that tiny ring, that little band of gold with some sparklers resting in it, made it so real. A tangible thing. Proof of a never ending commitment. It made my stomach tighten up and a silence settle over the table. It doesn't scare him... it scares me.
He drove me to the airport the next day, and I cried a little for the end of our blissful vacation and a little for how much I'd miss him while I was home and he was here.
A thoughtful silence filled the car, and then he asked, "What do I do with the diamonds? Have them re-set?" For one brief second I let myself picture it happening, a random Tuesday while I made tacos in sweatpants and an old tank top, and he danced around to Michael Jackson behind me. He'd say, "Hey, Lauren?" I'd turn around and he'd be there, on his knee, with the sparklers. And I'd be happy. I'd be so, so happy.
The ring. It means fear and happiness all in one. And it just got a little more real.