Its beads are oversized and held together by a thin, durable elastic which fits neatly over my hand and on my wrist. The color, though, is the story – it’s bright green. The color I always wanted my room painted as a girl—apple green. It’s the color that we eventually painted her room after she heard the story of my own childhood longing.
Years later, the bracelet is a reminder of the season we shared as giggly girls both impulsively painting the walls of her room my dream color just because she wanted to share my dream.
She gave it to me.
I have never whittled it out of my jewelry collection. It is a special treasure that has no explanation. What I know for sure is that it: 1) reminded her of me; 2) was purchased with her own money; and 3) was on sale.
I know these things because I remember the year she worked at the bauble shop as one of the toughest years of her life, and consequently ours. She had just come back from South Africa with us only to move out quickly into a house with four people she had just met. She nearly left skid marks.
None of her new roomies seemed unpleasant, but they were strangers she had met on Craig's list. None of them cared we were moving to Africa, seemed concerned with her speed, or even cared who we were. It made me think the same was true of her, and it hurt. My daughter's speedy exit from us made me think she needed her head examined. Literally.
Still we let her go, and kept in touch from across town. She seemed happy, but reckless. As we prepared to move out of the country, sell our house and say goodbye to years of accumulated stuff –to say nothing of extended family—we probably seemed the same to my parents.
One day she gave me a bag with bracelets and earrings in it, and told me that she had saved them as a gift for me, waiting until it the time was perfect. I can’t remember the day, so I can’t tell you if it was the perfect time…. It left me scratching my head, wondering why now, what the significance was in a purse of baubles but still, I thanked her with a kiss.
I packed most of the jewelry over, and was quite thankful for the bag. The bracelet is the one thing that endured the test of time – and I look at it (I can’t avoid it) every time I open my jewelry box.
It’s been five years since we moved to South Africa. So much has changed…so much hasn’t. She is moving into a new house with her boyfriend and their two children, both of whom I will see when I go back in less than a month's time. She is a mother and a grown-up in most people's eyes. I still see her as my precious baby girl. She says I violate her boundaries. I say she violates mine. It makes me wish for the days of painting her room on Timber Cove Way. I know, though, that the wishing for days past leaves me empty and inexcusably hopeless.
Without a doubt, I am happy in my life, but yearn for her to share happiness in the things that make me happy. Or at least I wish for things that could sustain her happiness. I can look at the bracelet and think of her, knowing that she is the daughter of the painted room and the daughter of the bauble shop and the daughter of now and the daughter of the future. She is my daughter…my only daughter.
The bracelet is a reminder that she thought of me. That’s enough during the times of questions and uncertainty in our relationship. It also is enough when I know she gave it to me because I am her mom and I am always there for her...even if I am two oceans away.
I am here for her, no matter what.