Though I know it’s often done, I feel strange about re-gifting any present. I grew up with a mother who appreciated anything she was given. No matter the value. If someone chose it, made it, or purchased it with her in mind, then it was a precious thing to Mother. Which made her precious to everyone else.
She had many lovely pieces of jewelry, but if I shamelessly begged a trinket from Mother’s green and gold jewel box, her price was high. Usually, if my interest was apparent, she’d say, “You can have that when I die.”
Of course, I didn’t want it anymore. “No,” I said. “That’s okay. I’d rather have you.”
She’d smile and pat my cheek. Soon I’d be back to digging through her treasures, listening to the stories behind them: her graduation watch, the pearl necklace brought from Japan by her nephew, and a diamond watch Daddy gave her at Christmas.
One day, Mother held up a lovely bracelet with a pink stone. I remembered it as my grandmother’s – once upon a time. I’d always admired it and knew I’d receive the usual response. Yes, it was for me, after Mother had departed this life. I dared not say a word lest I hear that sad proclamation again. But this day, Mother held out the bracelet. “Try it on, honey. See if it fits.”
A perfect, miracle fit, twinkling on my wrist as if it belonged there. I caught my breath and admired it as before. But this time, Mother told me the story of the bracelet, a little differently than I’d heard before.
“This might be a true antique, honey. It did belong to your grandmother and I believe she received it as a gift from a special beau.” Mother watched my face as I tried to picture Grandma as a young woman. I’d always heard she had more than her share of boyfriends. But why? She wasn’t pretty. Not to me. Maybe she knew a lot of jokes or could sing. Or cook! She had something, but I didn’t know what. She must have been very admired in her youth to warrant such a gift. Though I hated to take it off, I began to wrestle with the clasp.
“Keep it. I think you are old enough to take care of it,” Mother said. “This bracelet has been waiting to surround your wrist for years. Enjoy it.”
I was excited and had lots of questions. I learned the stone was tourmaline, the bracelet’s intricate band made of sterling silver, dipped in gold. First gifted to my grandmother from an unnamed admirer, then given to my mother, and finally, to me.
In this case, I’m all about re-gifting.