This is the story of how 3 words changed my life and how I gave away a precious item to someone who believes in pirates.
Item: my mothers jewelry box
Nemesis: my sister
Background: it's been many years since my mother decided to tell us that she wanted to be rid of her jewelry box. A handsome deep brown box with carefully laid joints and rivets. Curved on the top with a delicate latch holding tight to its contents.
My sister, 6 years my younger, and I have NOT fought since young children with the exception of one butt touching incident many years ago (a story for another time). This silent battle for the right to claim the sacred box of our childhood has raged for so long I don't know if my timelines are correct or of we had laid a predatory claim long before we knew there was a claim to be laid. The reasons why we needed or deserved the box year after year, holiday after holiday would fall on my mother and her wisdom to decide. Her answer was always the same, no one gets the box until You agree who gets the box.
Then came tonight. As I was leaving my moms house she recanted her least conversation with my sister.
My sister had an idea - give me the box and her my mothers wedding ring. Which was a no go because my stepdad is heir to that loom. Mom countered with the idea that she would give it to my brother and end this once and for all.
That's when it happened. Mom said " your sister has an idea of what to do with the pirate box".
the pirate box
And I said "she can have it".
And just like that, she could. Because she thinks it's a pirate box, and my brother would think nothing of it at all. My sister thinks its treasure, and it is. But it's so much more, it's never been about the box. It's never been about who gets this piece of my mothers life, her late 20s, her single motherhood. Her time of knowing nothing and learning everything there is to know about the 3 most important humans in the world.
It's about the piece of her that was just her. It's about the part of my mom that wasn't a mom at all. It's the girl who stowed away treasure, who showed her treasure to 2 little girls, who shared her secrets, who entrusted us with the things all little girls think make you a woman.
It's the place our cloak pins from SCA were carefully tucked away, it's the home of the dragon cuff and the moonstone earrings. It's plant toad's winter home and dress up afternoons. It's where we snuck pieces of mom to take with us on our journey. It's where teenage usses became ladies. It's years of love worn into the lining from our hands carefully separating chains and findings. It's the tube of lipstick she never really wore except that one time, and a stray marble. Even this box, with all those things gone on to other adventures is "don't forget to put the bottle on the door".
And that is how I chose to give the most prized possession of our inheritance to my sister, after years of saying "me or no one". Because I have all those things, locked up tight in my soul, and they will never go away. And I have my own box, a beautiful handmade wooden box from Iraq, that holds my secrets. My mothers first engagement ring, my favorite necklace made by a dear friend, the earrings wore on my first day of work at multiple places and the locket my husband gave me for my anniversary. I have my own afternoons, and stealthy teenage thefts of my cool Polaroid camera earrings.
And that is the story of how in an instant of what I'm sure is insanity I relinquished my claim to a small wooden box I'd fought for 15 years to obtain.
Because it's not about my sister being my moms favorite (which she isn't, mom loves us all the same and would give heaven and earth for each of us), it's about her being MY favorite (also my only, sister, that is) And knowing that things are just reminders of people. Just shadows of the past, my brain can remember all those things, those moments, those smiles, without the box. But to my sister, it's a pirate treasure, and maybe a new adventure, and no one loves and adventure more than me.