That is the riveting thought I woke to at exactly 3:40 this morning. Specifically, the bracelet my daughter received as a present when she was seven, which now sports thirteen charms. Her sterling links contain a church (First Communion), a cross (Confirmation), a cat (first kitty), flip flops, ballet slippers, a replica of an island in South Carolina, a flute for her band participation, a Christmas nutcracker and several other trinkets marking milestones. When she wears it, it gives a satisfying little tinkle that demonstrates the fullness of her life.
No word of a lie, I didn’t realize it until my sister’s-in-law compared their charm bracelets while sitting at my counter one Thanksgiving, but I have a charm bracelet too—a silver chain that my grandmother gave me for my own First Communion decades ago. It sits in my jewelry box, and attached to the clasp is one charm—a sterling chapel. Up until a few years ago, you could peer into the window of the tiny church and read “The Lord’s Prayer.” Now, the minuscule document holding the words has slipped down and if you look though the hole, all you can see is—I can’t resist here—“the light”—streaming in from the other side. All the years that I’ve held on to the bracelet, it was simply my special gift from Grandma C. until that Thanksgiving a few Novembers ago, when I realized that it should have been clinking with charms.
Yes, well, we won’t deny that I’m slightly slow on the uptake.
Anyway, now that I’ve figured it out, once in a while I wonder if I should fill the bracelet up. What kind of milestones would be important, and would it be cheating to start adding to it so late? It's a fair bit after the fact to document say, my own Confirmation, or my participation on the varsity diving team, or singing in the chorus. There have been graduations from high school and college, but if I dug through the trunk in the basement for diplomas, I’d find enough evidence of that.
Yawning in the dark this morning, I entertained myself by building this bracelet:
With out question, I’d add a charm etched with the date of our marriage and one engraved with our daughter’s birthday. Perhaps I’d find a little piece to acknowledge my garden, as long as it didn’t come with weeds. A sun chair would testify to my joy at the beach, but given a minor skin condition, I’d have to add a bottle of sunscreen too. Measuring cups or a little spoon would display my love for the kitchen, but if the truth be told here, that interest stems from my infatuation with food—all food. The jewelry store couldn’t sell enough charms to cover that.
Rolling over in bed, I smirked at my own silliness and then recognized this: After the ornaments signifying my husband and my daughter, the only other absolute would have to be a pen. It wouldn’t come close to thirteen charms, but I’m pretty sure at that point, that bracelet would be all filled up.