I was ecstatic, my daughter was coming home to spend Christmas with her family for the first time in several years and that was the only present I wanted from her. However, on Christmas morning she handed me a narrow rectangular box gift wrapped in gold along with a small square box wrapped in white.
“Mom,” she said softly, “I know how much hurt I’ve caused you and I wanted to buy you something very special.”
The gifts were very special, indeed! The rectangular box held a gold bracelet of delicate oval emeralds linked together with tiny diamonds, while the square box held gold hoop earrings also graced with petite emeralds and diamonds. I was speechless.
Teary-eyes, I said, “Oh, Stephanie this is too much!”
“No, mom it isn't,” she replied, “I wanted to do this for you and so much more. I am so sorry for all I have put you through and I very much want to be part of our family again.” As I hugged her and thanked her for the lovely gifts, I reminded her that she would always be loved, gifts were not necessary to earn my forgiveness or my love.
Of course, I treasured the bracelet and earrings. Although they were beautiful and rather valuable, more than anything else they represented a crucial turning point in my daughter’s life. Each time I wore them, I revealed in delight about our renewed relationship.
One evening as we were dressing for an occasion, I reached into the jewelry boxes for the bracelet and earrings and found only the earrings. Standing dumbfounded in my bedroom, I quickly tried to remember the last time I wore the bracelet.
Finally, my niece’s graduation from high school came to mind. I recounted taking off the bracelet part way through the evening because I feared a stone was loose and zipping it into the pocket of the purse I was carrying.
Frantically, I searched the purse. No bracelet to be found! My stomach felt slightly sick as I wracked my brain for scenarios of what might have happened.
It was several days before I recalled that in the pocket of my purse I kept a magnifying glass, tied on a ribbon, for times when I shopped estate sales. A few days after my niece’s graduation, I attended a very large, invitation only, estate sale of a prominent person.
With dismay, I realized I had forgotten to remove the bracelet from the zippered pocket. During the sale, I used the magnifying glass. Apparently when I did, I just pulled the bracelet out along with the magnifying glass and never saw it land somewhere in the room.
In vain, I tried to find the phone number for the estate’s liquidator. I only knew that her name was Jane. However, I felt it a hopeless situation as the sale had been packed with hundreds of people and the estate literally had thousands of items up for sale.
Even if found, I felt it would be assumed the bracelet was part of the estate and simply sold with the rest. I was heartsick at my carelessness and very concerned about how Stephanie would perceive the loss.
Several months later, my husband and I were in a Hawaii for a second honeymoon and I spotted a bracelet that was fairly similar to the one Stephanie had given me. “Let’s buy the bracelet and I’ll wear it and maybe she won’t notice,” I told my husband.
“No,” he said thoughtfully, “I have been praying you would somehow find your bracelet and I believe you will get it back. Please wait just a little longer.”
Very grudgingly, I said “Okay.”
To my amazement, the day we returned from Hawaii I retrieved a voice mail message from Jane’s assistant with an invitation to attend another estate sale. Frantically, I listened to the message all the way through to the end, but no phone number had been left for a return call.
As I slumped in dismay, my husband reminded me that often the voice mail system records the caller’s phone number prior to the message. I hit the replay button and indeed, in my excitement, I had missed that feature the first time through as a phone number was recorded.
Immediately, I called and left a rambling message for the assistant relating the whole story. I described the bracelet in detail, emphasizing the tremendous sentimental value the bracelet had for me. I asked that she have Jane call me about the bracelet, though as I finished the message, I felt very little hope.
Miraculously, Jane called the next day and said, “I found the bracelet and just knew there was something special about it. As it was not listed as part of the estate’s assets, I brought it home and decided I would hang on to it for a year.”
We made arrangements to meet. When once again I held my precious daughter’s gift of love in my hands, I cried tears of joy as well as relief.
~Deborah Kaye McDade~
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