Home > Family > Two pins.

Two pins.

Next week, my father is moving out of the house we lived in since November of 1989. He’s moving in with his super awesome girlfriend in a house better suited for two people, a dog, and a cat. After living in a home for over 20 years, he’s accumulated a lot of stuff. He’s slowly cleared space, but with the move one week away, everything must go. Last week, I went over my dad’s to help him with some yard work. In return, he gave me a bookcase. Today, we met up for lunch and he gave me a coffee maker and two ancient menorahs. On top of that he left me small paper bag. When I opened it, I saw the ceramic mug (?) I made the summer after third grade in daytime art camp that I hated.

I remember making that mug (?). I cared not for function as I molded my vessel; all I wanted to was make something that I could paint to look like the Milky Way. I painted my piece blue and flicked white paint all over it. Done. I also remember unceremoniously presenting my work to my parents (I really hated that camp) and my mom projected that overly excited mom-enthusiasm and announced that she was definitely going to find a good use for my mug (?). You couldn’t drink out of it because the paint contained lead or some other toxic chemical, so my mom used it as a jewelry box.

Inside of that little blue, white-flecked vessel held both my parents’ wedding rings, a few necklaces and earring sets, as well as two pins. One was a small 2005 Liberty Bell Judo Classic pin. The Liberty Bell is a judo tournament that family has either competed in, volunteered for, or attended as spectators for over 20 years. The year 2005 was my mom’s last Liberty Bell, as she ended her life two weeks before the 2006 tournament. The second pin was a button, about two inches in diameter. This pin, my grandparents had made when my mom was a baby. In the black and white photo, my mom is spread out on a blanket in frilly dress, smiling at the camera. I tried to look at that tiny person who was once my mother, but I couldn’t do it for more than a few seconds. Without thinking, I had put her minute wedding ring on my pinky finger for just a moment just minutes before, but I couldn’t look into my mother’s face as a happy child.

I never knew my mother as a happy person. There may have been spasms of that from time to time, but my mom struggled. Our relationship was pretty terrible because of it, since she never believed that I did want to be her daughter. For me, I never knew how to ease her insecurity without the risk of losing myself. I was also was younger and more self-involved, and I know I didn’t see the scope of what she was dealing with, let alone how it dictated her interactions with other people. Since she died, I try to understand how life must have been for my mom.  I don’t miss her. But it still kills me knowing that there was someone walking through this world who was in such pain because she never believed she could be loved or comforted, and that person happens to be my mother.

Despite these little jabs from my parents’ relics, I do like having them in my possession. I have my mom’s grandfather’s ring, which she had re-sized to fit tiny her finger, along with her engagement ring, her wedding ring, and some silly charms from birthdays and Mother’s Days past. As they sit jumbled together, I have some of those little spasms of happiness that my mom did get to experience, all contained in my nine year-old’s vision of the Milky Way.

Categories: Family Tags: , , ,
  1. Stephie
    October 2, 2012 at 15:49


    I read this before when you just posted it, but never had a chance to leave a comment. I think this is one of the most honest and touching pieces of writing I have ever read. It almost made me cry, but since I’m at work, I had to hold back. I am so happy that you are writing and that you are brave enough to share. You captured your relationship with your mom (then and now), her struggles, and how you feel about it all so directly, yet poetically. I might ask your permission to use this in a class of mine sometime…. And I love how you sum it all up with the last line about the Milky Way…it’s just perfect.

    • October 2, 2012 at 22:27

      Aw, Steph, don’t get me teary-eyed. Thank you. I remain self-conscious about my writing, but that’s why I throw it out to the internet. It helps me get over the fear.

      You can certainly use this if you want. I’m super flattered you’d want to share it with your students.

      I miss you tons, and I can’t wait to see you and your family again! x0x00x0x0

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