Passing on my childhood treasure

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

There are things we all have that we treasure from childhood.

For me, it was a small gold ring – my first “grownup” piece. It was nothing spectacular, a shiny filigree heart, small enough to fit, now, on my pinkie.

For years, it had sat in my jewelry box, untouched as my taste grew to simple silver in college to the big and bold pieces I favor now.

Not too long ago, I went on a cleaning spree, shining the diamonds and polishing the silver that had accumulated over the years – even going so far as to toss out a few of the “what I was I thinking” pieces.

I came across the ring – a Christmas gift from my parents when I was about 10, I think. It is one of the few things I have left that I can remember my father by.

When I was a teenager, I remember it came up missing for a short period, only to be discovered in a dresser drawer. It eventually had fallen to the floor and been mashed flat by my heavy foot. I had to use a curling iron to shape it back right. Even today, you can still see the cracked side if you know what to look for.

That day of spring-cleaning, my oldest daughter – who is an even bigger fan of jewelry than myself – pointed out it was exactly her size, demonstrating the fit by sliding it onto her third longest finger and holding it out for inspection.

Her 10-year-old self was a good mirror of myself at that age – her chin a little longer; hair much fuller; checks a little sharper. It was my face only more in focus.

“It’s yours,” I said, nodding my head in the direction of her hand. I watched as her eyes brightened from green to blue.

“You have to take very good care of it. It’s very special to me.”

I could tell it would be special to her, as well.

“I promise,” she said.

I choked a bit, thinking of future when she would venture off into the world and make a life for herself.

And I realize a mother’s heart is a lot like all special things – visible for the world see while held close to the chest when comfort is needed. Sometimes it gets lost along the way; sometimes trampled, but never is it thrown away or discarded without thought.

And sometimes it gets bent out of shape for one reason or another, but all it takes is a little effort to set it right again.

Just yesterday, we were driving to school – a little hurriedly, because it’s just that time of year. Graduation looms and schedules boom with things to do and places to go.

We weren’t late but neither were we on time. Me behind the wheel, she in the passenger seat – the curve of her cheek highlighted by the window’s flashing greenery. One slender hand pressed against her head, the other holding a book firmly in place.

And I see it – my special thing – now her special thing – still firmly in place on her third longest finger.

And I smile.