When I was a little girl, one of the things I loved to do was go through Mom’s jewelry box and look at all her treasures. I always loved the silver charm bracelet she had hidden away. I never saw her wear it, and I don’t know much about where it came from or when it was purchased.
When I got older, I started collecting charms for my own charm bracelet. Mom bought me some, I bought myself some, and others were given as gifts from friends or Dan. When Mom died, I inherited her charm bracelet as well as some other jewelry. There were some pieces – including the charm bracelet – that I don’t know anything about. Since I feel that jewelry is a personal statement, I decided I didn’t want stories of my own jewelry to die with me. I decided to photograph each piece, then I made a scrapbook and described the jewelry in my own handwriting. I even included a photo of my original engagement ring (the one I lost!) and the story of how I lost it. I’m glad I documented my jewelry, and one day I hope it’s something my kids will appreciate owning.
When Katie turned one, I started a charm bracelet for her. I decided to buy her a charm each year for her birthday. She hasn’t even seen it yet. I know she’s not ready to wear a piece of" “real” jewelry, but I’ll keep collecting charms until I feel the time is right to give it to her.
There are seven charms on the bracelet. The first is the year “2004”, which signifies her first birthday and her first charm.
The second charm is a butterfly. The day before Mom died, she told Mary and I, “I know I’m not a butterfly, but I feel like I’m in a cocoon.” Mary and I started collecting butterflies as a way to remember Mom. I chose a butterfly for Katie’s second birthday because it reflected the loss of her grandmother (and grandfather) that year.
The third charm is a pickup truck. For Katie’s third birthday, we had a Dodge Ram party. She *loved* Dodge Rams at the time, so her party was all about trucks. The cupcakes had real Matchbox trucks on them, the kids made foam trucks/cars at the party, and we borrowed my friend Catrina’s Dodge Ram so the kids could take a ride in it up and down the street. It was only fitting that the charm that year was a truck!
The fourth charm is a black bead. It is a bead made by a woman named Lisa at Roses2Remember. She uses roses from special events (weddings, funerals, etc.) and makes jewelry from them. For Valentine’s Day 2007, Dan gave Katie her first bouquet of roses. I saved them and sent one to Lisa. She made a bead for Katie’s charm bracelet, so Katie will always have a reminder of how much her dad loved her before she even realized it! (Lisa has also made jewelry out of roses from Dad’s funeral and Grandmother’s funeral. I highly recommend asking her to help commemorate something special for you too.)
The fifth charm is a school bus. It signifies Katie’s entry into Kindergarten that year. The sixth charm is a ruler, which also commemorates school. This is a bit confusing. Katie’s birthday is in June, and school starts in July. So when she turned five, I gave her the bus charm because she would be going to school in a matter of weeks. (She also just had her first ride in a school bus for our district’s Saturday School preparation for Kindergarten.) Then for her sixth birthday, I wanted to commemorate the year that had just passed – her first year of school – so I did the ruler. I know, it wasn’t very original. But it is what it is!
The seventh and last charm is a gymnast. The year between Katie’s sixth and seventh birthdays was the first year she took gymnastics lessons. She went from barely doing a somersault to being able to do cartwheels and handstands by herself. I was so proud of her and wanted to mark the growth and confidence she gained through gymnastics.
I have a while until Katie’s next birthday, but I’m already thinking of the ways she’ll grow this coming year, and how we’ll be able to mark the growth next June!