I didn't want the gift because I knew what it meant. I wanted my mother; not her jars. Quite persistently throughout Christmas day, she shared their history. Grudgingly, I took them home and placed them on a shelf. The shift was gradual. One day I opened a lid and dropped in a lock of hair….then a cub scout patch. The vanity jars became guardians for those little bits of childhood--a baseball card, a dairy queen whistle, baby teeth and more--that made me smile. Precious vessels for the memories of my precious children.
As my children left the nest the jars held less of theirs...and more of mine. I realized one would be perfect for my makeup brushes. Another could hold delicate necklaces and the small one would be good for earrings. They were lovely to look at. And now I looked at them and used them every day.
At last grateful for her gift, I can put this in perspective. My mother brought the vanity jars home after her mother was already gone. Mom saw a chance to do something different. By sharing her history in person I have far more than a collection of antique jars. It doesn't really matter but I wish I could remember what Mom kept in them. Memories, I guess.