I must admit that I do love jewelry. I can linger next to any display case, admiring and often trying on pieces that glitter and shine. I have some favorite designers that are incredibly creative in their gemstone arrangement. Jewelry-making is truly a fine art.
I also love another kind of jewelry which I cherish most. You will find these pieces scattered throughout my house, many of which are in my jewelry box, on my bedside table drawer, on my desk and even in my purse.
It’s the beaded necklaces matched with random hues and alphabet beads. It’s the yarn and twine that lay flat and clumsily around my wrist, sometimes catching on sharp corners. It’s the creative mixture of macaroni elbows painted in pink and blue, and the now-stale Cheerios that combine to form unique patterns, adorning me with a style like no other.
I even own a crown. A crown made for a princess or queen. Made of the finest cardboard, stroked with a painter’s brush dipped in brilliant color, fastened by the sturdiest metal staple of the century. I have made supper and tossed laundry in the dryer wearing this crown. I have also saved my crown from mishaps, and the toll of wear and tear on the most delicate of papers.
I find it meaningful to adorn myself with strands of love and affection, beautifully made by the small, pudgy hands of my children. Each gift I receive, accompanied by a smothering of hugs and kisses, makes my life so unbelievably incredible, casting upon me a warmth and glow that no crown of the finest gold and silver could ever accomplish. These jewels of a lifetime dangle from my neck.
And then, that very moment occurred when I wasn’t looking. And that is what mothers do at times; we don’t look, we don’t internalize, we do the best we can at a given moment because that is what we can do best. It sort of protects our fragile heart at times.
The school bus arrived, and I helped Chaim Boruch descend the steps carefully. We waited for the bus to pull away, keeping to our homecoming routine. We walked hand in hand, and I asked him about his day, truly wondering if I would ever know.
We unpacked his backpack together like we always do, Chaim Boruch looking for his iPad as I searched for clues about his day. He rummaged around rather clumsily as I wondered some more about what he was looking for.
He pulled out a little box from his backpack, stuffed with some very crinkled tissue paper. He smiled, and almost seemed a bit shy and embarrassed, like he wasn’t sure what to “say.”
I asked him if he made a project in school. He nodded yes and sort of thrust the box in my hands without any grace at all, but with one magnificent smile.
My world stopped. I didn’t even hear the pitter-patter of his baby brother heading towards us. I carefully opened up his gift and tears filled my eyes.
I cannot use words to adequately describe how long I waited for this moment, but trust me when I say it seemed like a lifetime.
I gently unraveled the well-packed tissue paper and lifted out a pale yellow piece of yarn with a ceramic pink rose bead on it. I remembered to exhale as I gave my son the tightest hug while gently placing this necklace of love over my head. I beamed, ecstatic and filled with emotion.
Because, Chaim Boruch.
The jewel of your special soul, the craftsmanship of your weak hands, is the most brilliant gemstone that I will ever own.
A symbol of love, affection and the miraculous journey of raising a mother, blessed with a special-needs son.