Love looks and feels different to all of us. For some, it’s having a partner who knows and appreciates even our darkest and most fragile parts. For others, it’s woven within the sense of gratitude that comes with waking up to an exceptionally sunny day. In all of its forms, love motivates. It gives us a sense of purpose. It grows from the roots of family, blossoming with each new generation while binding each of us to our unique origin stories.
I come from a legacy of women who have not just given me love, they’ve taught me how to love by example — lessons I’ve preserved in the form of this necklace, which features their initials hanging just above my heart.
My paternal grandmother, Nonna, showed love through gathering family and friends over a home-cooked meal. I learned from her that this emotion requires time, attention, and work in order to thrive. Her heart was made up of tiny pockets in which she held the spirits of loved ones past, the largest of which was occupied by my late grandfather whose presence could still be felt through the memories Nonna shared and the objects from his carpentry work she kept, scattering them throughout the house like little remnants of his soul. Her initials: TR.
My maternal grandma has been writing me letters since I could read. Part of her weekly routine, like laundry and Sunday sauce, is penning individual updates for each of her eight grandchildren. This is a sacred ritual, and just like church, she never skips a session. Wherever I am, her letters follow, with messages of support and compassion, news of her winning canasta record, and intel on which cousin has a new significant other (and of course, what the family thinks of them). It’s a constant source of love that I can count on, measured in over 20 year’s worth of inked pages. Her initials: AM.
And then my mom, the most powerful female influence of them all, who has taught me about the extraordinary bond that can only exist between mother and daughter. She's also taught me about resilience, confidence, and friendship. Her initials: JR.
In addition to wearing these initials each day, there’s part of one of my favorite quotes from Lalah Delia's on the back of the necklace which reads, “Return home to yourself. You are safe now.” And so regardless of where I am in the world, that’s how I feel when I put it on — home, safe, and forever in good company.
My Tiny Tags necklace