I overheard a couple of friends of mine talking about how they wished their mothers would stop buying them gifts for their birthdays. Instead, they would like their moms to give them things that they no longer use and are planning to leave them in their will.
Like china dishes or crystal glasses or jewelry.
I have to agree that there is something meaningful in receiving something from your parent that they want you to have because they loved it before you. Bought gifts, while often are exactly what you want at the moment, do not carry the same weight.
My mother has given me a few special things over the years although the most treasured necklace, which we called Cleopatra, was stolen along with several pieces of my mom’s jewelry and melted down for the gold.
This morning, I found an old jewelry box, which I hadn’t opened in years, and decided to weed out the things I still wanted to wear, the ones I wanted to give to my daughters and the junk that should have been tossed into the trash eons ago. Nothing in that jewelry box was worth much; it was mostly jewelry I wore when I was in college and in my twenties.
It just so happens that I have a daughter who is in college, nearing twenty, who walked into the room while I was organizing the jewelry. I picked through and showed her a necklace and some earrings and some more earrings, each time asking if she would like them. Her style, right now, is somewhat like mine was at that age, and her sister’s isn’t, so I didn’t feel like I was favoring one kid over the other with the gifts.
And, as I said, the jewelry was not of high quality. It was more fun, less valuable.
As she started to leave the room, with a stash of my old stuff in her hands, she said, “I like that you had all this hippie type of jewelry. It’s exactly what I like to wear.”
I smiled. Sometimes it’s the little things that remind you of the characteristics of yourself you’ve passed on to your child without even knowing.
When the time comes, I will go through my better jewelry and ask my girls what they’d like to have when I pass on. And I’ll make a list.
And, probably, before I die, I will give a few of those pieces to them for their birthdays because what better gift is there than something treasured and passed down from mother to daughter.
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