When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say,
"I used everything You gave me."
~Erma Bombeck

August 30, 2010

Mondays with Mom... The Greatest Gifts

This is a photo of my oldest daughter at age one, me, and my sweet Mama. The reason I am showing you this is because of the jewelry in the picture. Look closely on my mother's arm. Do you see the many silver bracelets? Do you see the ring on her finger?

For about thirty years, every single day, my mother wore those bracelets and that ring. When her biological father died, she tucked one of those bracelets in his pocket at his viewing. When her stepfather died, she tucked one in his.

Two days before Mom passed, my sister and I were sitting on the porch while Mom was resting and my sister jumped up and said, "I have something for you."  She went inside and came back out with the thickest of the bracelets you see on my mother's wrist. It took a few minutes before I could even speak. I was overcome with emotion. Mika told me that she asked my Mom if it was okay to give it to me and she said yes.

Fast forward to January when Mika paid my plane ticket for my birthday to go to Phoenix to go through my mother's personal belongings. Out came her jewelry box. My mother was not an extravagant woman. She was beautiful and loved beautiful things, but could never afford diamonds and gold. As we went through the items in the box. We took turns saying what we wanted and let a lot just go. The two items that we got caught on were her wedding ring, which we were both pretty sure was only about 1/4 karat and the silver ring you see in the picture above. We settled with Mika taking the wedding ring and I taking the silver ring.

I wear these two pieces of jewelry now every single day, just like my mother did. When I look upon this hand, I see her hand. When I knit, I see her hand. When I paint, I see her hand. When I cook, I see her hand. When I smooth away the hair from my daughters faces, I see her hand.

My sister also has one of the bracelets. She holds it near and dear to her heart as I do. While we were going through Mom's jewelry, we wondered briefly where the other ones (besides the ones in her daddies pockets) were. Well, this past summer, I found out where at least one of them was. One morning, I heard Katie and Nikki arguing about a little doll that Katie was playing with. Nikki wanted to play with it, but Katie said the doll was special, that Nana had given it to her. This was true, my mother had bought the little doll for Katie at about age 2 when she was on a short layover here in Houston. Nikki looked up at me with her sweet blue eyes and cried, "Nana never gave me anything." My mother's health declined when Nikki was about age 2 and made it difficult for her to travel, so she didn't get to spend much time with Nikki. Well, of course I started racking my brain, thinking there had to be a toy that Mom had bought for Nikki, but I couldn't come up with anything. A couple of days later, I was searching for something in my closet and found a box of items from Nikki's baby shower. My friends had put together a time capsule. I opened the box and among the items in it was a sealed envelope with Nikki's name written in my mother's writing. I opened it up to find two pieces of jewelry and a letter to my little girl.

                                    My Darling Nicky,

                                            This old necklace was worn by your Great Grandma
                                    when she married Grandpa in Las Vegas. It's missing
                                    some stones and the clasp because your Mom played in
                                    Grandma's jewelry box with all her stuff. I wanted  you
                                    to have something special of hers to remember her by.
                                    The silver bracelet is mine. I have worn this with several
                                    others for over 30 yrs. One is in Great Grandpa A's pocket -
                                    he is buried  in Castle Dale, UT. And one is in Great
                                    Grandpa W's pocket. He is buried in West Valley City, UT.
                                    I wanted you to have it because it is so special to me.
                                    I love you baby girl.


I read the letter to my Nikki and showed her what Nana gave her. As she listened, a beautiful smile spread across her face and she exclaimed, "My Nana really loved me!"

I know material items aren't worth much and you can't take them with you, but there is great comfort to be found in some of the objects left behind and a good many stories to be told. To me, they will be forever priceless. The paintings, the knitted afghans, the jewelry all hold my mother's memory in them. Her love and her joy have been passed to us. These are the greatest gifts.


  1. As i am reading this i have a tear down my face it is beautiful:-) . Thankyou for that,I wish i was close to my mother but we had a falling out 1 yr ago today and nothing .

  2. Thanks for sharing that beautiful story. You write so elegantly.

    I know that I probably met your Mom once or twice but I never really got to know her personally. I can say that she must have been a wonderful woman and mother because she raised such a wonderful Daughter. You must be so much like your Mom.

    Although we don't see each other or even talk very often. I am proud to say that you are my friend.

    With Love and Friendship always,


  3. Lanie...this was one of the most beautiful post I have ever read. Being one that lost my mom in 2007 I understand all to well the emotions that are involved in writing something like this. Thank you for letting us share someone so special that even after she is gone..she is still touching hearts.


  4. What an amazing story. I'm so glad you have these special pieces of jewelry to help you remember your mom. That letter to your daughter is so neat - what a treasure!

  5. That gave me chills and I am so happy for you that you have those wonderful pieces.

  6. Priceless Lanie! I know you loved your mom very much. Wonderful to have such great memories you can share about her.

  7. I am so glad that you all have pieces of your Mother in your lives still. These posts are a wonderful tribute to her.

  8. Okay, I know you posted this in August but I just ran across it. It is so beautifully written. I am in tears because I can just see Nikki's face so excited about the letter, the bracelet but most of all, about her Nana's love. I miss you SO much and hope to see you soon. Thanks for sharing! Love you~