I knew it would happen eventually.
Last week I sat next to my daughter who was about to receive an award of recognition (in the form of a necklace) at church for doing a crap load of admirable stuff. It's called her Young Womanhood Recognition, and is earned through a rigorous, lengthy process that begins when they are 12 and ends whenever they finish all the requirements, but must be completed by their 18th birthday. Most people wait until they are 17 years, 11 months, 29 days and 23 hours old to complete everything, but what can I say? Samantha takes after her father. Although the necklace's design has changed over time, women have been earning these awards for decades and many resurrect their medallions for such a night as this. Jewelry that has sat at the bottom of the box for months will get pulled out, dusted off and displayed around one's neck as a unifying symbol of generations of good works and obedience.
I used to have one.
I don't anymore.
This was the first time Samantha noticed. Just before the program was to start she settled into the seat next to me and noticed the woman next to me who was fielding questions about the snazzy chain cradling her medallion. After peeking at my bare neck she asked, "Hey Mom, why aren't you wearing your necklace?"
I looked at her and smiled. "You're so pretty."
"What? No seriously, where is it?"
"Ummm...I sold it?"
She laughed. "No, really."
"Uh, that IS for real."
"You SOLD it? Why?"
"I needed the money to take your Dad to Hawaii."
"Wow. That's just sad," she said as she sat down, shaking her head at me and smiling in amused disbelief.
The medallion these days has a small red gemstone below the emblem of the temple, our holiest place of worship. That night Samantha approached me and asked, "Do you think we could take this gem out and replace it with my birthstone instead?"
"Well," I answered, "do you know why they put a red one in it?"
"It's from the scripture that talks about your value being more precious than rubies (Proverbs 3:15) so no, I think you should keep that one."
She didn't miss a beat, "Oh! This coming from the one who SOLD hers?!"
She proceeded to take one more crack at it and added, "Couldn't we just change it and say that my value is more precious than aquamarine?"
That girl. Not even the Crown Jewels hold a candle.