Last night we got a few more hours with Sam and Erin, who are moving to South Korea this weekend. We sat outside in the rapidly cooling air with our friends and just relaxed. It was an amazing end to a rewarding day!
Yesterday Dave was working and on Tess duty, so I spent the whole day sorting, cleaning, laundering and putting stuff away in our room. It’s officially been reclaimed! As I put my jewelry away, I got a surprise. Many of you know I was robbed in Vienna. They took everything including my granny’s fake pearls, which I loved. It was upsetting for many reasons, and I still mourn some of the pieces they took; not because of jewelry, but because of the memories those pieces inspired.
The worst of the losses was a necklace my mom gave me before my senior recital in high school – my first solo concert. I had terrible stage fright – dry mouth, whole body shakes, heart pounding, desire to flee stage fright. It was so bad that I told her I couldn’t see any of my family beforehand. (This was in Michigan.) Mom and I, like many teenage daughters and the poor women who parent them, often had a lot of emotional ‘static’ in our communication. In the crucial, life-altering moments though, she always managed to get that “you are loved and we are here for you” message across. On this occasion, it took the form of a beautiful green egg pendant with a clover on it, accompanied by a heartfelt and supportive note. The necklace was delicate and unique, hanging on a thin gold chain, but the words that accompanied it and the intention behind it still make my heart glow.
My parents weren’t exactly opera buffs. I felt they’d be more pleased if I chose a less financially perilous path. Still, here they were: they traveled up to Traverse City despite my pushing them away; they respected my need for private freak out and still managed to show support before I walked out on stage alone, to be judged by my professors and peers (literally!).
Yesterday, as I dug through the pieces I’d left with my ex-in-laws in Montreal before I moved to Vienna, I spotted green enamel. There it was – this necklace I treasured and hadn’t seen for five years or so was twinkling in my hand. when they sent me photos of what they had, they must have missed this one.
I may not sing as much anymore, but that necklace means the world to me. It’s the physical embodiment of pure, unadulterated support and love given when I was not at my most endearing. I wore it on challenging days and to almost every audition, and I’m thrilled to have it back. More importantly, I’m overjoyed to be reminded of what an impact parental love can have, even on a prickly teenager. I doubt I ever told mom how much that gesture meant to me. Yet here we are, 16 years later, and I still remember how I felt opening the box. It’s a reminder that as Tess grows and declares her independence, as all kids do and need to, she will feel our love and support whether she shows it or not. That necklace has taken on an additional meaning now. The invisible mother-daughter bond of support is heading into a new generation, and I’m guessing I’ll need that reminder on more than one occasion. 🙂