It is November, and for those of us in Canada that means the major celebrations like Thanksgiving, Halloween and soon Remembrance Day are behind us. Time to start planning for what is perhaps the biggest day of the year to many, Christmas.

No, wait, this is NOT a story about Christmas so don’t stop reading just yet! While so many moms start looking for online buys and deals and start writing lists of wishes to try and fulfill in the next 6 weeks of retail frenzy, there is another group of shoppers filling with anxious excitement. The Ring-buying group.

The Christmas holidays has been the top time to propose for at least a decade. And at the centre of that proposal, most often, is a ring. At least. That’s what the movies and advertisers make you believe.

But here’s the mommyconfession. That perfect ring is not what marketers will make you believe. This moment, it is not about the ring.

When I met my husband we were barely 20-years-old. We were aspiring journalists with a desire to go out and travel the globe chasing stories, and in his case, chasing wars. Getting into the midst of action and being there to capture the moments and present it to the world. Marriage, kids, and a steady home address was not in either one of our plans.

But we met.

We became friends. We became working partners in a 2-person newsroom where we bumped chairs together in a tiny office and shared a phone. Yes, a landline phone. This was pre-cellphone reporting folks. We depended on each other for weekly success. We had each other’s back against those that didn’t appreciate the columns that week. We brainstormed our ideas and approaches. We shared our tips and sources.

We fell into like. We fell into trust. And then we fell into love.

It was supposed to end that Fall as we returned for our final year at University. It was supposed to end so we could keep our plans of setting out as journalists of the world. It was supposed to end. But then when there is real love, there is no end.

And so it happened that one day out of the blue – and without a ring – the question was officially asked. It was simple. There was no flash or grandeur. It was just us. In our messy, messy apartment amidst me flinging clothes all over the place as I was hurriedly looking for something to wear (we were running late for meeting friends). And then there he was on bended knee. It was a simple question. It was a simple moment. Nothing else was needed. Not even that ring others will tell you is crucial to the event.

This is my ring story.

We did eventually pick some rings. We did it together and we then paid for those rings at $10 a month for a year. Needless to say these rings were just as simple as the proposal. But for ‘kids’ still in their final year of University, it was pretty grand. It was perfect.

Since that time I’ve exchanged many ring stories. Everyone has their own unique tale to tell. Some women have diamonds you can see glistening across the room. Some women have rings similar to mine (ones purchased around University age). Some women will surprise you by showing a non-jewelled band they purchased for $20 at a flea market. Others will surprise you even more by showing off a tattoo. A few women will have a story to tell about a favourite family heirloom.

We all have different stories and rings. But they all share one similarity. To each of us, the story is where the real moment of value is at. The ring size, the st‌yle, the price tag – is not of value at all.

Every time I’ve listened to a woman tell her engagement story, the same thing happens. She lights up. She beams as she talks about that moment she realized what was happening. It is love that you can see and feel. No matter how angry someone may be at that partner at that time, ask them about their engagement story – the ring story – and I guarantee you, their face will light up. And as they tell that story they might be looking at or playing with the ring around their finger. But I’ve never heard a woman tell her story and include a price tag to it. I’ve never heard someone say they were disappointed in the setting, st‌yle or size. The ring story is not about the ring at all really, it about the promises and dreams and trust and love and dedication and honesty and commitment that is signified by that moment. It is a priceless story.

So if you are fretting about the ring purchase, don’t.  She will be happy with whatever you decide. And if you can’t decide, maybe she will be like me and laugh about it as part of her own ring story. Maybe she will love that her ring story does not actually include a ring, at least not in the same breath as the proposal story. Just remember, it is not about the ring you are presenting. It is not the ring she wants. It is the story.

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