i have an aunt i only see on holidays.
one of my dad’s older sisters. she lives about forty-five minutes away but, for one reason or another, life only allows us to visit on major holidays like thanksgiving, christmas, and my yia-yia’s (grandmother in greek) birthday. in the past, conversation included only a few words, possibly just a hello, how are you, and the eventual goodbye. i never felt close to her as i did to other aunts. however, quite luckily, in the past few years our relationship worked its way out of its plateau. conversation flows quickly, wish shared smiles. we share so much more in common than i ever thought.
through the years, despite the status of our relationship, my aunt always boxed me up a little gift for the holidays. generally, i open up the small packages to discover a delicate, beautiful piece of vintage jewelry. she knows my tastes well, as hers mirror mine almost to a t.
i love funky, old pieces. rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets of the vintage variety always catch my eye. when my mom’s mom died, i got the chance to rifle through her life of jewelry. talk about special treasures! like my grandma, i am slowly accumulating a bright, unique collection of jewelry, a big chunk of it coming from my aunt. this christmas, my aunt did not disappoint.
and a name: the mother-in-law bracelet.
in india, the birthplace of my new bracelet, men are freely allowed to beat their wives. an exception to the rule exists, however, as exceptions usually do. if, on the day of marriage, the bride’s mother-in-law presents the bride with the mother-in-law bracelet, the mother-in-law wordlessly cloaks her new daughter-in-law in protection. with the mother-in-law bracelet, a wife can forever be shielded from the wrath of her husband. she will forever be protected.
my aunt doesn’t know of my struggles. we’re not close enough for me to open up about my issues. but she does know i love stories. she knows i love jewelry like this. she knows of my fascination with india. and she loves me enough to offer me the gift of protection.
and that, my loves, is a gift in and of itself.