As I was slipping on the most perfect bracelet that untitledhusband had gifted me with for Valentine’s Day, I got to thinking about the last bracelet I had worn. It was one of those mother’s bracelets with your child’s name spelled out in square silver beads. It was the Girl Scout badge of motherhood, and every new mother I knew wore one. But I loved it just the same.
I had made the bracelet myself, right after the birth of untitledson. Even though I was back to my corporate whoredom (a much easier gig than being a stay-at-home mother, trust me), I felt the inexplicable urge to let everyone know that my heart was actually sitting in a bouncy seat, burping up fountains of $22 per can formula and filling his diapers with Chihuahua-size poops.
However common it was, this bracelet was special to me. Whether I was debating which flavor of shredded wheat to buy or filling out an expense report at work, it reminded me how all of this mundaneness was for him. If all this would allow untitledson to grow up happy, healthy and able to afford things like Tivo and sandwich bags with zippers, it was worth it. Even on the weekends when I was wearing my holey sweats and socks with the purple paint splotches on them, I wore the bracelet.
It was on one of these lazy Sundays that it occurred to me — my mother must love me with this same big, audacious, consuming love. Knowing that my mother must love me as much as I love untitledson, well, it kind of blew me away. I mean, while I was having all these venomous thoughts about her, she was sitting somewhere, overflowing with this same love, wishing she could hug me and kiss my ears, or just be near me. Jesus, what kind of monster was I, to write things like this and this about her, for all the world to see?
In this cloud of motherly love, I invited her down for the weekend. I thought we could go to the local bead store and make a mother’s bracelet for her. It would be my way of saying, “I now know. And now, you know I know. You know?” It was truly the circle of life (cue Lion King song), the fulfillment of that mother-daughter bond. To see your child love as you have loved her, what could be more monumental than that?
After convincing her that, yes, hand-picking each bead and stringing them one-by-one was indeed more fulfilling that purchasing one at Kay’s, we headed to the bead store. As we were choosing the letter beads, she asked, “Whose name should I put on here?” I said, “Well, you can put untitledson’s name, or the name of your other grandchild, or even both. Or, you could put my name on there. Or untitledsister’s name. Or both. Whatever you like.”
Imagine my surprise, as missplaced as it was, when she chose to put HER name on the bracelet. Holy shit! Had anyone ever put their OWN name on a mother’s bracelet before? I thought maybe I should tell her that these kinds of bracelets are meant to honor those you love. But on second thought, I decided not to say anything. Perhaps her bracelet did feature the name of the one she loved the most. And far be it from me to stand in the way of her artistic vision.
From what I understand, she ended up only wearing the bracelet two or three times after her co-workers informed her of how unique it was. Did she take it as a sign from the gods that perhaps her priorities were a wee bit fucked up? If it did, it didn’t motivate her to change her lifestyle one little bit. If she learned anything, it was probably this: when in doubt, buy your jewelry from Kay’s.