Thursday, November 13, 2008

By Diana L. Chapman

You can imagine how I am feeling.

This weekend, my whole family will celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday. My two sisters and cousin have been working on a sit-down dinner bash for months. They invited 75 people thinking 50 would come, but everyone responded they would be there.

My husband is going. My son is going. My in-laws and their children will be there.

The one person missing will be me. It’s not that I don’t want to go; it’s that I’m not well enough to travel any quick-turn around trip. These days, a lunch outing causes so much fatigue that I fall into bed for hours. (I have multiple sclerosis which makes me feel like I have mono everyday).

Feeling crushed, I wanted something so special for my mom, something lasting and something that wasn’t going to break the bank since my bank is already broken. Then I remembered Mike Walker, the guy who is organizing a giant Christmas rush of care packages to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, telling me his wife made jewelry.

Going to her website:, what I saw looked promising – starting with tiny roses, made from silver and gold-filled metal, beautiful crystals in many shapes and hues and the fact that each piece was hand crafted and individually designed.

Meeting up with Shirley, we sorted through her many homemade inspirations (she actually melts and makes glass beads at her home) I saw piece after piece that were beautiful, but didn’t quite fit what was needed. One that caught my eye was a clear pink crystal, encased in a silver border trimmed with a heart on top. It was stunning.

I loved it; but the trouble was: pink is not my mom’s color, she wears gold, not silver, and it didn’t have the rose I wanted to represent my father since he gave her roses. So I asked: "Could you make something similar?"

The answer was yes.
This is what we settled on: a topaz-colored gemstone to represent her birthday, a heart to represent my family and a rose tucked in the middle as a symbol of my father, who died about 12 years ago. Within two days, I was able to bring it home and proudly show it to my husband, Jim, and Ryan. They both thought it was the perfect gift to represent me since I cannot be there in person.

The price: $64.40. Had I gone to the store and spent $300, I couldn’t have found something that means so much symbolically. So it’s true, I am sad that I can’t go.
But being able to put together such a special gift, makes it somewhat easier. Thank you Shirley for saving the day for the one kid who can't go to celebrate her mother's big birthday!

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