Cece. That’s my mother-in-law. You don’t have to wonder if you have ever met Cece. If you have met her you will never forget her! To try to describe Cece in a few words is a mountain I won’t try to climb, but trust me, she is a jewel.
Recently she passed down to me a beautiful diamond tennis bracelet. She has always been dripping with diamonds. We call Cece a diva at 91 and she shines and sparkles from her diamonds all the way down deep from within her soul. While I was pleasantly surprised to be the recipient of the bracelet I’m not really a diamond kind of girl. Yes, I would enjoy it, but not because of its worth, more because it was Cece’s and I love her.
The bracelet was a tad large and the clasp didn’t seem as strong as it should but I wore it anyway with the thought in mind to run by the jewelry store at some point and have it checked.
Just a few short weeks later I was running around and I looked down to notice that the bracelet was gone. I did what we all do when we lose something of value. I retraced my steps but the bracelet was no where to be found. I was ashamed. I felt so guilty for not having it checked. I felt sure it had fallen off somewhere along the way. Disappointed and full of shame I told my husband and a friend but no one else in my embarrassment. As the weeks went on I would notice my arm and feel a bit empty as this something of beauty was missing. I hoped I would find it one day and more than that I trusted I would find a reason for the loss.
6 weeks passed. Still no bracelet. I had less and less thought of it but the loss still lingered in my heart. My husband and I were cleaning out the basement. 3 grown kids moving away from home, returning and leaving again had turned our basement into a jungle of everything you can imagine from an Evil Knievel motor cycle helmet all the way down to some pocket change left in a pair of pants. Clearing a large table in our laundry area I picked up a stack of old newspapers and there it was. The bracelet! It the midst of the rubble of the everyday it was shining and screaming at me, “Here I am!” I squealed so loudly my husband probably thought I had uncovered a spider. I’m not sure you can hug a bracelet but I stood there covered in dust and filth and rejoiced over my beautiful treasure.
I’ve thought about this string of events a lot since it happened. It’s so crazy to me that the bracelet was within 18” of where my arms did laundry every day and I didn’t know it. It was right there all along. How did I miss it? As some would say, “If it was a snake it would have bit me!”
As mother’s day approached this year it coincided with the last of my 4 children graduating from high school. It’s interesting that they placed Mother’s Day within a couple of weeks of graduations. I wonder if that was on purpose. Compounding these 2 events brought strong emotions of “both and”. I felt both happy and sad that this motherhood thing was passing. I loved being a mom. I wrapped myself in it. I could say I lost myself in motherhood. And I’m glad I did. Many would be a critic of that and say, “You should have kept your identity apart from motherhood.” While this is true, I’m waking up both satisfied and lost. I’m satisfied with these child rearing years but also lost as to who I am after 27 years of being a mom. If I had the chance, what would I say to the band of mom’s coming after me?
So let’s talk about that bracelet story again. My life, my gifts, my talents, my personal identity were set aside and lost for a bit as I gave myself to being a mom. Those things were never far away, right there all along. The shining beauty of my identity and the way God made me, just me without children, was there all along underneath the everyday. It was not far off. The me apart from earaches and antibiotics, sack lunches and gatorades, skinned knees and homework was just waiting. Lost but not forgotten. Waiting to be rediscovered, enjoyed and appreciated. And you know one more amazing thing about this analogy and the most wonderful thing of all? I appreciated that tennis bracelet more than ever when it was found. It was more beautiful than I had remembered. It had so much more value having been lost and then found. There you stand smelling like laundry and covered in love, holding your gifts just waiting to be used! You have probably forgotten just how beautiful you are.
So here’s to finding life again, this side of motherhood. You are special. You are beautiful. You hold great value. Give yourself the gift of “you rediscovery”. If you search with all your heart you will find that you are still there and that you are pretty amazing! Cheers to us, the moms! But more importantly the daughters of the most High King who made us and thinks we are pretty special!
And by the way, I hope you get to meet Cece one day because she is sure to be your favorite too.