Sunday, May 16, 2010

Marking Milestones with Jewelry

I love things that sparkle and shine, so it should come as no surprise that I love, love, love jewelry. (I am Glam-O-Mommy after all.) Over the years, I've marked many milestones in my life with jewelry.

For my 29th birthday, I was living the high life in Las Vegas for a weekend trip with two girlfriends and one of my friend's extended family. Her dad was considered a high roller, so it was all expenses paid for us at Mandalay Bay while we were there, which was amazing! I used my own piddly spending money to play quarter slots and won a big (for me, not for any high rollers LOL) pot, so to commemorate my 29th birthday and my awesome weekend, I took a taxi over to the Bellagio and used my winnings to buy myself a Tiffany heart bracelet with my initials engraved on it. I was so proud of it, because it was my first piece of Tiffany jewelry--we didn't even have a Tiffany's in San Antonio then. It seemed glamorous and iconic to have a little piece of that on my arm. Being 29 and single, I was fairly bitter at the time; in fact, my nickname for myself then did not include "Glam" in the title at all...it was Single Bitter Woman LOL. I regaled all of my friends and coworkers with stories of my Single Bitter Woman bad date and awful pickup line encounters (Single Bitter Woman would've been an AWESOME blog filled with hilarious, horrifying dating stuff!). I was pretty sure I was going to be single FOREVER at that point, so the bracelet was sort of a "I don't need a man...I can buy myself pretty things" statement for me too.

Ironically (and luckily for me), later that year, I met and started dating my now-husband, the Destroyer of Single Bitter Woman (hard to be bitter when you're happy and in love) and the Co-Creator of Glam-O-Mommy. :) For our first Valentine's Day together, when we'd been together about three months, he was trying to do things right, so he bought me some roses and candy from the grocery store, and a piece of jewelry...a $7 silver bracelet that he bought at Target. He kind of meant it as a joke, but I put that bracelet on and told him I was going to wear it every day until he replaced it with another piece of jewelry! And I did. I never took it off until...

Seven months later, when he proposed to me with a gorgeous engagement ring. We had looked at rings together, so he got exactly what I liked (a marquis diamond surrounded by princess-cut diamonds), and he proposed to me at the ice skating rink we frequented (he's Canadian and plays hockey, so he's a great skater and it's one thing we love to do together!) for two reasons: (1) because it's the first place he told me he loved me and (2) because he thought the ring would look extra sparkly out under the lights on the rink! Does he know me or what?

For my wedding, in addition to the beautiful wedding band my husband gave me to go with my engagement ring, I bought myself a diamond and pearl tiara to wear. At first, I did not plan to wear a tiara, because at 31, I thought I was too old of a bride to wear one, which I thought for months...until I finally tried one (just one, THE ONE) on and that was it! I was a tiara girl, to the surprise of NO ONE, since all my bridesmaids, my maid of honor, and my mother were like, really...YOU are not going to wear a tiara?! You know they sparkle right? And make you look like a princess? Are you sure?

My lovely parents also gave me a pearl and diamond necklace and earrings to wear at the wedding, since their originally planned gift went out in the trash a few years before. See, my Mother's engagement ring had a tiny chip of a diamond in it, and a few years after my Mom got the ring, she accidentally vacuumed it up while cleaning. This destroyed the band, but my Mom managed to find the tiny diamond and kept it for almost 30 YEARS, in a tiny plastic bag in various jewelry boxes. Her plan was to have the little diamond set into a necklace to give to me to wear at my wedding. About four years before I met my husband, my parents were cleaning things out of the house in preparation for a move, and my poor sweet Daddy accidentally threw the little plastic bag with the diamond away! He thought it was a stray piece of plastic and didn't even see the tiny diamond inside. Once they realized what he had done, Mom and Daddy searched the trash thoroughly, but never found the diamond. They were heartbroken about it, and so was I when they told me, because I would've cherished having that since it was the diamond my Daddy gave my Mom when they were 20 and 21 years old! (They've been married almost 42 years!) So they gave me a beautiful pearl and diamond necklace and earring set to wear on my special day instead and I cherish that as well. Someday, I hope my daughter will wear the tiara, necklace, and earrings on her own wedding day...I'm keeping all of that for her!

It's a little tough to make out the earrings and necklace in this picture,
but the tiara looks amazing, right?!
My husband, the Destroyer of Single Bitter Woman, also rocks!

Another thing I'm keeping for my daughter is a present I picked out for myself for my 35th birthday when I was pregnant with her. As I've explained previously, I fought a tough, completely unglamorous battle to get pregnant. The fact that I was pregnant and going to have a daughter was amazingly miraculous to me, so I when my 35th birthday rolled around, I had been thinking about jewelry to commemorate my impending motherhood. My parents decided to give me a little cash for my birthday that year, and since clothes and SHOES were not really that exciting an option for me at that point, I decided to add to the cash they gave me and splurge on an initial necklace from Tiffany's (which had made its way to San Antonio in the six years since I turned 29), because my daughter and I share the same first initial. My plan, from the moment I bought the necklace, is to wear it myself until my daughter turns 16, and then give it to her on that significant birthday. I hope she loves and treasures it and understands what it represents...my love for her and how she is the fulfillment of my heart's deepest desire.

My husband has given me some other pretty wonderful pieces of jewelry that I adore. And when I say 'given', what I mean is 'taken me to the store and let me pick out what I want', which is his favorite way of giving gifts and one that I'm generally down with, since he actually hates to shop and is not a huge fan of getting or giving gifts at all. So the fact that he gives me gifts this way tells me that he really does love me a lot! For our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, he gave me a pretty diamond drop necklace. For our first anniversary, he gave me a set of diamond stud earrings, because I had had surgery to repair both my earlobes since our wedding and needed real earrings to wear after they were re-pierced and while they were healing rather than costume jewelry. On my 34th birthday, I was deep in my hellhole of infertility despair at that point. I saw two things I liked when he took me to shop for a gift, a pink sapphire necklace and a pearl necklace, and told him either would be wonderful, I couldn't decide. He bought them both. I know...I am one lucky lady! He was really trying to make me feel better with that double gift, because it was literally the saddest, lowest point of my life at that time, and he was in those emotional trenches with me every day. He was my rock.

A month before my due date, my dear husband took me out for a nice dinner and to shop for a special gift since I was in the home stretch of my miracle pregnancy. He balked at the suggestion that this was a 'push present' as many people call it, he was like, "This is my idea! I just want to give you something nice because pregnancy is tough and you only have a month to go!" Together, we picked out another pair of diamond earrings, this time a little drop style vs. the studs I normally wear. And those lovely earrings were the only piece of jewelry on my person when my beautiful baby came into this world and took her first breaths and laid in my arms. And I still marvel at the fact that I am a Mommy every time I look at those earrings.

This year, for Mother's Day, I bought myself my own gift. My husband is not big on Mother's Day and my daughter made me a beautiful painting of a sunflower with her hand and thumb prints that I framed and have displayed in my office, but I had been wanting a Mommy necklace, a simple one that would look chic with jeans or a dressy outfit. I found the Tiny Tag Designs website and decided to order myself a simple two-tag necklace with my daughter's name and birthdate, which is of course, one of the best days of my life! Certainly, an amazing day to commemorate, but it's really a commemoration of the greatest gift of all: being her mother, a role I wasn't sure I was ever going to get to play, and a child's love, one I was not sure I would ever know. I'm so grateful to know it now. I got my necklace a few days before Mother's Day, and could not love it more! (Note: I bought the necklace myself and am not receiving anything from the designer or the website for this plug...I just seriously love my Tiny Tags necklace!)

My daughter's gift is super sweet and looks awesome framed in my office!
I smile every time I look at it.

While I love beautiful things, and aspire to glamour in all aspects of my life, ultimately what jewelry comes down to for me is love and life. The most important days, milestones, loves, and experiences of my life have been marked with jewelry. When I wear that jewelry, more than swathing myself in sparkle and bling, I'm clothing myself in the love and the memories of the people that gave me the pieces or that were part of my experience, whether that's my 29-year-old Single Bitter Woman self who I now remember with love and wish I could go back and advise her to relax, you will find someone, you will eventually have a beautiful daughter, life will be okay, or my husband who is truly my love and my partner in life and changed my life for the better in so many ways, or my amazing parents who sacrificed everything they ever had to give me a good life, symbolized in a pearl and diamond necklace and earrings that are really stand-ins for a tiny, not-worth-much-except-the-world-of-my-parents'-love chip of a diamond I never got to receive.

I am blessed and I am grateful to have so much love in my life. It's like the Mastercard commercial...gorgeous bling, sparkling diamonds, and pearls=$$$ dollars. Having an amazing family, loving, and being loved in return=priceless.