My mother’s jewelry box is in my closet, busted into two pieces. (I have five kids, and while no one confessed, I know it wasn’t me or the cat. We don’t have a cat.) I have coveted my mom’s jewelry box for years. It looks like a miniature Edwardian dresser with three felt-lined drawers and curvy spindly legs. It also plays the love theme from Dr. Zhivago. Awhile back, Mom gave me her jewelry box; she said it was no longer meaningful to her, because it held too many painful memories. My parents divorced and mom still harbors many hurt feelings over the whole situation.
It held a place of honor on my dresser for years. I piled my jewelry into it without much thought for organization. I also put my kids’ baby teeth in it, because that’s where my baby teeth were put.
Around the same time I found my mom’s jewelry box lying broken on the floor, things started getting rocky between me and my mom. Not sure where exactly I screwed up. We didn’t visit her enough, even though she was only two hours away. Now she lives across the country. She stopped answering the phone when I call. She doesn’t write or email anymore. She doesn’t acknowledge the grandkids’ birthdays. Frankly, it’s pretty hurtful, and I’m sure she would say the same thing. I have been trying to be the grown up, and stay in touch. I send occasional notes and leave messages once in a while to let her know we’re all alive and well. I’ve been thinking about getting her jewelry box down and fixing it. It’s funny how we imbue physical objects with our own deep emotions. Some part of me thinks that if I fix the jewelry box it will somehow help me fix things with my mom.
Until then, I have purchased a slightly bigger one at Goodwill that has many compartments for my own jewelry. I organized my stuff and feel better about not having my necklaces in a tangled jumble. Maybe that’s what’s going on. Maybe as I get my own life in order, I will be better able to take care of my mom. Wish me luck.