If I ever wondered whether or not I have gained weight since my wedding day, the proof is in my fingers.
Yeah, there’s no doubt that I’ve gotten a little soft around the middle (working on that) but really, even my fingers are fat. I discovered this recently because every time I go in to make IVs, I have to take my wedding ring off. I’m now to the point where it will absolutely not come off my finger unless I use soap to coax it off. It has never gotten stuck on my finger – at least not yet – but it serves as a daily reminder that I am not as young (or as thin) as I used to be.
Because I am me, it reminded me of that Mary Chapin Carpenter song “I Put My Ring Back On” from her 2010 album The Age of Miracles. That was one of probably three songs that were not ballads, and it’s always been a favorite of mine. In the song, Chapin sings of how the protagonist in the song fought with her husband and threw her ring down in a rage. Later, she realized that it was just “this hurting inside of me that threw it down/Down, down, down” and she put her ring back on and the couple made up.
I really love Vince Gill’s harmony. Harmony that is higher than the melody always gets me. Every single time.
What I love most about this song is what a grown up love song it is. It speaks not of new love, but the old married love that sometimes isn’t as sexy as the new crush but should never be underestimated. The road traveled by those in long-term relationships is rarely without potholes. Frequently, the biggest threats to those relationships are those in it, for they’ve been together so long that they know just how to hurt the other. No one remains the same over the course of a even a quarter of a lifetime, let alone an entire one, and the song speaks to all this.
We can’t speak like lovers we used to be
We can’t change ancient history
Love wounds with such simplicity
And I threw it down.
Down down down.
I’m always a little bit sad for Chapin when I listen to this song, because ultimately, she did NOT put her ring back on and divorced her husband to whom she was married at the time this song was written. It’s kind of like “Annie’s Song” – John Denver divorced Annie, so it kind of takes a bit of the punch out of the song.
But for the rest of us, hopefully in the end, it’s worth it. She sings “Cause here with you is where I belong.” I know that every disagreement I’ve had with my spouse has led me to that same spot – I would never want to be without her – so we work it out and that love that has been through so many changes and forms over the last 20 years perseveres. And that’s not just because I have a hard time getting my ring off my finger.