Earlier this week I went out of town for work.  It was a longer trip by my standards; three nights away.  As I packed on Sunday morning, I included a piece a jewelry I hadn’t worn in quite some time.

Dave gave me this necklace for Mother’s Day years ago when the boys were quite little.  Noah was perhaps in pre-school and Chase was just a yummy mushy lump of baby.  I wore it all the time, and especially when I traveled for work.  Having their names around my neck felt right and others seemed to agree.

The large number of compliments I received on the Mommy necklace was almost embarrassing.  It seems I couldn’t encounter anyone for the first time without them commenting on the piece.  Often times, they had trouble making out the names and when I explained what it was, I would get those warm looks as if to say, “isn’t that precious.”  And I felt like the best Mom in the world who chooses to leaves her babies so that she can travel for work meetings.

But after a few years, I stopped wearing the necklace. I’m not entirely sure why.  Perhaps I tired of it or had gotten used to the business travel enough that the security blanket was no longer needed.  Yet when I came across it in my jewelry box on Sunday, I realized that it went well with my wardrobe selection – so I brought the boys along and wore them twice over the four days.

But no one noticed. No compliments.  No inquiries.  Nada.

As I returned home yesterday, I wondered if perhaps I had outgrown the necklace.  Were my children too old for me to be displaying them so obviously as my jewels?  Is this demonstrative display of love and devotion suitable only for younger Mommies?  Good grief.  Was I walking around with the equivalent of a Baby on Board sign around my neck??

Signs that my boys are growing up and emancipating from their parental shackles are all around me.  But most of the signs rest clearly with their actions and development.  But the necklace is another story.  This one is all about me and how I view my ties to them.  And the choice is mine as to when I let go.

At some point, wearing a necklace with my sons’ names could be perceived as a little clingy.  I will never stop loving my boys; nor has my love for them diminished over the years.  But should the public display of that love temper as they grow older?  After all, I no longer kiss their fingers and toes.  Nor do I hold them for any length of time longer than a few seconds. Is wearing this necklace similar to those acts of love  – suitable for the mother of babies but not of tweens?

Has time stolen this precious piece of jewelry from me?

Perhaps.  But I won’t despair.  I happen to know there are more subtle ways to show my love for the boys, ways more suitable for the “older mommy”.  Have you ever seen those “mother rings” with the birth stones……?

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