Watching a movie at home with my five-year old daughter, Alea is one of our favorite ways to spend an evening together, and one of the things I miss most when my travels take me far from home — sometimes for weeks at a time.
One of the movies we watched recently was "Annie," which she loved because of the heart-shaped locket worn by the adorably precious character. A picture of her parents was tucked inside, a reminder of the days before she arrived at the orphanage.
“The serendipity of life never ceases to amaze me ...”
“Annie is lucky, she can always see her Mom and Dad's faces when she's missing them,” she said, before drifting off to sleep. As I made my way down the hallway, I thought of all the ways we stay connected when one or the other of us is away. When I’m in Japan or New York, she always sneaks a beloved stuffed toy into my suitcase to sleep with and we chat on FaceTime several times a day. But if she had a locket like Annie’s, we could be connected even when I am on one of my many business trips.
The serendipity of life never ceases to amaze me, because the very next night I attended a dinner party where I met Jen Pleasants, an artist who created showtheLOVE, a jewelry collection made with reclaimed materials and engraved with sentimental phrases. The designs are beautiful and the entire concept behind the collection touched me.
At home afterward, I went to her website and couldn't believe my eyes: The perfect hand-forged heart locket, inscribed with “You are Loved” inside. I could barely hit the keys fast enough to purchase one … and then purchased another for myself so we would each have one exactly like the other—a perfect reminder that love and connection is possible even if you aren't in the same time zone all the time.
The lockets arrived just a few days later, and were even more perfect than they had seemed before. I cut copies of a favorite family snapshot into tiny heart-shapes. When I gave our mother-daughter lockets to Alea, she fell uncharacteristically silent as she traced our faces and the heart with her little finger.
We’ve worn them every day since, and it has quickly become my favorite reminder of home. A few days ago when I went to pick her up at school, I peeked through the window in the door and saw the class sitting as the teacher read aloud. Cross-legged and concentrating intensely, I noticed Alea clasping the locket between her hands as she listened. It gave me peace in my heart to know that no matter where our journeys take us, we’ll be in each other’s hearts.