Symbol of Love

Last week, my engagement ring split in half, as in …literally. Let me explain.  It was a random Tuesday afternoon when I felt the ring very loose on the index finger of my left hand, something that had not happened to me since the days before I had my children. Back then, I had such lovely slim fingers. Now I’d be lucky if I can get the ring over my knuckle with a generous amount of soapy water and a crowbar!

I looked down, sensing something was wrong and saw that my side diamond was detached from the main stone. The entire base of my ring had separated like the Red Sea did for Moses in the Bible. I took it as a sign. Oh no! Did this mean my marriage was headed for an unhappy ending? Did this mean it would split, like the Red Sea? Did I need to re-evaluate my relationship with my husband? Or did it just simply mean I needed to get it fixed and not read anything into it other than I seriously needed to go back on a strict diet.

I immediately took the ring to the jeweler and he suggested a new setting. I looked at him like he was nuts. You see, I’m the sentimental type, which means I don’t throw out anything! I keep anything and everything that has some sort of an emotional tie to me. It can be a piece of lint that I found while doing our first load of laundry in my new house. You may think I’m joking, but I assure you, I’m absolutely serious. I still have the flower from the bouquet of white roses my husband gave me on our first date pressed inside my first copy of Pride and Prejudice, which I had bought as a thirteen year old teenager. I still have the ticket stub from the movie I went to the night I found out I was pregnant with my first child. And if my husband didn’t insist, I would have kept the cord stump that fell off from each of my kid’s belly buttons upon their births. So to get a new setting? It was like the jeweler was asking me to part with one of my vital organs. I liked my old setting. No, I take that back. It’s more like adore it! It’s the ring the love of my life slipped on my finger when he asked me to be his wife. It’s the same ring I had on the day that we were married. It’s the same ring I looked at with happiness on the day each of my children were born. I didn’t want anything new. I wanted the old. Just fix my ring! Yet, it was clear from his explanation and the look of disgust on his face that there was no other choice. I left the store without my ring and with a bare finger that had an outline of pale skin where my ring should have been.

I came home dejected, upset at this cruel twist of fate, but decided to put it out of my mind because there was nothing more to be done . . . until a week had passed. On a random Tuesday evening, in the middle of my kitchen, while I was just finishing putting the plates away from our dinner meal, my husband got down on one knee and took out the most beautiful ring I had ever seen out of his pocket. He told me how much the first eighteen years had meant to him and how he was looking forward to the next eighteen. A second proposal of sorts. How romantic! Of course, I said yes, again and I realized in that moment that “new” ain’t so bad. In fact, it’s better than that. It’s downright amazing and much larger than old!

Now, I’m not going to go crazy and purge all of my old stuff. Most of the old stuff will stay with me, including the ticket stub and the dried up flower and the old broken gold ring where my diamond used to be. But I realize that there’s always room for new: new experiences, new loves, new rings and new re-declarations of love.

I look down at my ring now, all shiny and sparkling and realize that I got it all wrong. The best things don’t necessarily come from the past. The best things can be those that haven’t happened yet, those that are yet to come. And you know what? I’m OK with that; more than OK in fact. And the absolutely best thing about my new ring? It’s been resized and fits me perfectly now, which means I don’t have to worry about going on that diet anymore!


Love is All Around Us


Today is the “official” day of love.  It’s the day when you break out the chocolate covered candy (mmmm) and the bouquet of red roses (and from the storms we’ve been having in NYC, any flowers in bloom are welcomed right now!).  It’s when you spend the entire day telling the people you love how much they mean to you; whether it’s your parents, your sibling, your children, significant other, your husband or your best friend.  It’s a day filled with red colored everything and mushy sentimental phrases.  It’s the day I binge on romantic movies and sing love songs at the top of my lungs while driving in the car.

So in honor of this day, I wanted to proclaim my “not so secret” love affair with books.  It’s a long standing relationship, one that started very early in my life and one that continues as strongly today as an author.   I love everything about books.  In hard cover format, I love the smell of the pages and the sound of it as I turn it.  In electronic format, I love the sleek look of each chapter as I download it onto my device.  I love the amazingly beautiful covers.   I love the stories and the characters.  I love the words and the descriptions.  And most of all, I love the journey each book takes me on.  I’ve been all around the world without ever leaving my home.  I’ve met people that I would never have had the opportunity to know.  I’ve learned about different professions and different cultures.  I’ve been to exotic beaches and snowy mountain ranges.  I’ve seen families torn apart and reunited.  I’ve seen relationships mend and strong women find their voice.  I’ve suffered the lows and celebrated the highs.  And most importantly, especially on this day of all days, I’ve watched as two people find each other and fall in love.

So in honor of St. Valentine’s Day and all the love that it brings, here are a few of my favorite romantic books (in no particular order):

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

One Day by David Nichols

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Emma by Jane Austen

Undomesticated Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Plain Fame by Sarah Price

Happy Love Day!


Photo courtesy of

A Kiss is Just A Kiss

It’s like the old Casablanca song says: “You must remember this.A kiss is just a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh.”

That movie had the best kissing scene that I’ve seen, hands down.  There are a lot of movies that have great kisses, but for me, that scene is the standard to set all others by.  The movie has everything you can ask for in a romance.  It has the handsome man with a past.  It has the woman who can’t seem to forget him.  It has stylish suits and smart hats. And it’s set in the exotic location of Morocco.  But most importantly, it has Bogart and Bergman.  The moment Ilsa confesses that she is still in love with Rick is filled with tension and heat.  The dramatic kiss that follows, with the two of them set in a sexy silhouette, ranks right up there with the famous scene from Gone With The Wind when Rhett gathers Scarlett in his arms and takes her up the stairs to their room.  You can let your imagination wander from there.  It follows closely ahead of the beach scene out of From Here to Eternity (who doesn’t fantasize about being kissed passionately while rolling around in the sand?) and the first kiss between George Bailey and Mary Hatch in It’s A Wonderful Life (not only sweet but filled with longing).

Who doesn’t love a kissing scene?  Whether it’s out of a book or a movie, that kiss is my favorite part of any romance.  And it’s not just the kiss that really holds my interest, but the build-up leading to that kiss. It’s the anticipation and the tension between both characters who, as you know, are attracted to each other, but have been fighting it every step of the way, either because of impossible circumstances thrown at them or on account of their own sheer stubbornness.  The best part is not the kiss itself, but the waiting.  The “will they or won’t they?”

And, you do know it’s coming from the moment the opening credits roll down the screen or from the first page of the book, don’t you?  It’s only a matter of time.  From the first scene when the two lovers meet, we know it’s… inevitable.  Romantic movies or novels are nothing if not predictable.  We patiently wait for it to happen because… the waiting is the best part. Because when it happens, it’s simply magical.  There’s no other explanation for it.  It’s why all of us who are commonly diagnosed as hopeless romantics (yes, I am a card carrying member) pick up that book or pay the price of admission to see that movie.  It’s to wait, with bated breath, for that perfect ending.  It defines the “happily ever after” we all need.  It’s why the greatest love stories end with the kiss because, let’s face it, it doesn’t get any hotter than that!

Erin Brady