Today marked a milestone for me, for, today, I received my first set of heirloom pearls. It was a strange yet wonderful sensation. I’m 34 years old, been married for going on 10 years and have 3 kids, yet something so small as hand-me-down pearls nearly brought me to tears. It wasn’t so much the pearls as it was the point. Dare I admit it, for fear of sounding like a mushy girl, but since I was little, I’ve often wished that I had something special, sentimental, a token that had been passed down to me and that I would one day pass down to my children — something linking me to my family and the past, yet also reaching into the future. Of course, I don’t have anything like that. I mean, in addition to my wedding ring, I have a few pieces of jewelry, all of which Bryan purchased for me, that I will pass on to my kids. [The Girl will get my wedding ring; Boy Genius, my diamond necklace and earrings; and Wonder Boy will get my “Mother’s Ring” (a gold band bearing each of their names and birthstones).] Today, however, I received that token, but not from my mother or grandmother or any other woman in my biological family. After our Christmas celebration at Bryan’s mom’s (a.k.a. Mema or Debra) house, when the guests were gone, the dishes clean and the children in bed, Debra asked if she could speak to me for a moment. Fearfully thinking “oops, what have I done,” I followed her to her room, where she led me to her jewelry box and brought out the most beautiful string of pearls. She placed them in my hand and told me that she loved me and wanted me to have them and that, maybe someday, I would pass them down to The Girl who could then pass them down to her own daughter. The fact that Debra, my mother-in-law, would place me in that line is amazingly stirring, so much so I fear I am not doing it justice with my words. Suffice it to say that today a mother-in-law granted a little girl’s dream; who would have ever expected that?