This week a simple bracelet soothed my soul.
This week a simple silver bracelet soothed my soul. Let me explain.
When I brought my third baby home from the hospital, I expected to feel many things over that first year. Overwhelmed. Over tired. Over wrought. As well as exhilarated, content and deliriously happy.
All that I expected.
But you know what I didn’t expect? You know what I didn’t see coming?
Tell me, where in all those bloody baby books is the chapter on the wild-eyed jealousy you’ll feel towards anyone who has the ability to leave the house at random? Where’s that chapter?
Or maybe it’s just me.
I’ve shuffled through the past nine months, chronically sleep-deprived in baby spew-laden pyjama tops acting as a personal assistant to three children under six and if I’m going to be honest, I’ve had unexpected pangs of industrial strength envy towards my beautiful, talented friends.
The friend who is currently on a major work trip to NEW YORK.
The friend who is planning a family holiday to Europe.
The friend who just signed a major book deal.
The friend who goes to movies and cocktail parties and weekends away on a whim.
The friend who’s been (deservedly) rewarded with a huge promotion.
The friend who took my place on a fabulous Mamamia assignment because I, you know, had a fourteen-week-old croupy newborn at home.
And it’s not that I wasn’t happy for them and their achievements and good fortune. I was. I AM. And it’s not that I would want to take their amazing opportunities/promotions/holidays away from them. I wouldn’t.
Bec with Quincy. Photo by Russell Shakespeare.
But as I move around my kitchen in my pyjama pants and old t-shirt sporting hair that hasn’t seen a hairdresser in six months… sometimes, I have those fleeting moments of feeling like I’m the only one on the planet at home, making potato and egg frittatas that Fin throws onto the floor, changing nappies and watching ABC 2 while the rest of the world is HAVING A LIFE.
Having a life while I try not to lose my mind as my five-year-old follows me around narrating her every thought and movement (I’ve said it before, it’s like living with Evan from The Secret Life Of Us).
It goes without saying (but watch! I’m going to say it anyway!) that I wouldn’t trade places with anyone else but sometimes the hamster wheel of being a mum can get a little, err, MONOTONOUS. Actually it’s not the motherhood part that’s a grind, it’s wiping the kitchen benches, doing the laundry, making 3,000 meals a day that gets rather dull.
So yeah, these past nine months, as I’ve scrolled through my Facebook feed staring at my friends’ overseas holiday snaps, their award nominations, their book deals, their work promotions, their outfits that feature zero baby spew, the green-eyed monster has come to visit a few times.
I’m not proud of that fact. I’m just being honest.
But last week, I found a way to get rid of that monster for good. Or at least a way to get over myself and my occasional bouts of envy.
I bought myself a bracelet.
I’d heard on the grapevine about a ‘Milestone’ bracelet that a few friends had bought. It was a very simple silver chain featuring four large silver discs. The idea being that you can engrave onto each side of each disc the major milestones or happiest memories of your life.
For example, one side could be the names of your children or most beloved friends and family. The other side could be the personal and professional milestones of your life.
The Milestone Bracelet (since writing this post, Bec’s had her bracelet engraved).
One side could be the names of the places you’ve lived, the cities you’ve seen. The other could be the names of your pets or godchildren or favourite books.
One side could be the names of the songs that have been the soundtrack of your life. The other side could be degrees you’ve clocked up or maybe the virtues you most admire
Part of me is tempted to get engraved the day of the week Ava has library at school because it would be a totally handy way to remember.
How you use this bracelet is up to you. You can engrave whatever you like onto it.
So where’s it from?
This is the best bit.
These bracelets are lovingly handmade by Phil, an old horse and cattleman and his wife Robyn who live on a property in Jandowae on the Darling Downs in Queensland.
For the past eight years or more, Queensland farmers like Phil and Robyn have battled floods and drought. Many farms around them have gone under. Add to that the fact that a decade ago, Phil had a stroke and was promptly told he’d never ride a horse again. So to give himself something to do and to give them a hand financially, this former welder started making jewellery.
And while he and Robyn make a whole range of items, there’s something about these simple sterling silver bracelets – these handmade ‘Milestone’ bracelets, as I call them – that hold a bit of magic.
I have no relation to Phil and Robyn. I’ve never met them. I paid for my own bracelet, and trust me I have no financial interest in their silver smithing.
But I’m a bit in love with these bracelets they’ve created. After all, haven’t we all found ourselves lost at some point? In motherhood. Or in a job. Or a bad relationship. I like that these bracelets are a tangible reminder of who you really are.
I bought myself one for my 42nd birthday a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what I’ll get engraved on the discs yet. Whatever I choose, on those days when I’m deep in the trenches of motherhood, when my life seems to be a merry-go-round of fish fingers and nappy changes, I know I’ll be able to look down at this bracelet and remember what I’ve achieved. Who I love. What I hold most dear.
Who knew a simple bracelet could do all that? Those folks at Jandowae are mighty clever indeed.
*This is not a sponsored post! But if you’d like to buy one of Phil and Robyn’s bracelets, they’re $140. And you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.