Special Object

“All my love,” the same message my mom has written me in every birthday card tattooed on my arm.

My mom gets me a birthday card every year. Sometimes the greetings are sentimental, or even more light-hearted in their nature, and although they differ each year, her hand-written note to me has remained the same: “All my love, Mom.” I’ve been saving the cards since I was able to read.

My parents divorced when I was very young. At that age, dad wasn’t always around for birthdays, so my Mom did what she could to help us forget. I watched my sister struggle with the separation and that’s when the attention shifted to her, because she needed it more than I did. But I still had my special day each year.

“You still have this thing?” my mom said as she sat down and began to sort through it. I gave her a look as I replied back, “Duh.” My mom looked through the cards. She had forgotten about it and assumed I had too.

My mom purchased this gold tin to store keepsakes of mine. She bought it not long after I was born, and it even contains a card and candles from my first birthday. The memory box wasn’t intended to be mine until I was much older, but she thought it would be the perfect vessel to store my cards. The tin is square in shape, and its thin metal makes it cold to touch. The shininess of the tin amazed me as a little girl, but now it has seen its days and has started to wear down. The gold color has started to fade, and I’ve had trouble closing the lid.

I always loved my birthday. Growing up with a little sister meant we were always fighting for attention. February 4, my birthday, was my day, even though my sister fussed and cried about the gifts and attention I received.

My memory box holds mostly cards from my mom, with the exception of a few favorites I couldn’t part with. At a young age, I saved the cards because they were pretty; sometimes pink, or even glittery. Now as an adult, I save them for the deeper meaning they hold. The cards and her note are a constant, just like my Mom.

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