Mom had a golf cuff bracelet and when she wore this bracelet I knew she was dressed to go out. Something between everyday and fancy, it was a bracelet she’d wear to Thanksgiving dinner, or to a luncheon, or to her bridge club, with a straight skirt and sweater, or with a sleeveless wool dress. It was the only bracelet I ever remember Mom wearing. And wearing that bracelet was special to me because even though Mom was dressed up for an occasion, she was still accessible during these times. Not so fancy that I couldn’t touch her, or sit on her lap and play with the bracelet as it circled her wrist.
Mom always took it off if I asked, which meant turning her wrist and pulling at the bracelet’s sides so she could squeeze her wrist through an opening which looked impossible to me and maybe even painful to her and then handing it to me. I would slide it on my small arm and sometimes change the size which I did by squeezing the sides together and Mom would let me even if it changed the shape of the bracelet a little bit. And I’d let it slip up and down my arm and imagine how a grown-up bracelet like that would look on me when I was just like Mom.
I have a cuff bracelet now. It’s silver and it doesn’t look much like Mom’s. But I have taken it off in the same way as she did, twisting my arm, feeling the straight edge push into the soft inside of my wrist, just as she must have felt. And I have handed that bracelet to my own children who have asked to look at it and feel it in their hands and try it on even though they are boys, feel the warmth of the silver from my wearing it, just as I felt the warmth of my own mother’s bracelet as it circled my arm. And I think there must be some kind of meaning behind this small, ordinary moment, a connection that tells me, yes, you are doing the things that your mother did because they are part of those comfortable, safe and familiar moments that link mother to child, generation to generation.