When Jade and her family reunite for their father’s tenth death anniversary, they discover that a simple family tradition has far more value than any of them ever realized.

I have two brothers, and now, I’m living the adult life with my husband, Ethan, and our two daughters. I’m a nurse, and Ethan is a builder — pretty standard, right?

Growing up, my dad and I had a weekend tradition.

“Come on, Jade,” he would say, carrying a box of beads. “It’s our time!”

Assorted beads | Source: Pexels

Assorted beads | Source: Pexels

And we would sit around the coffee table and make bracelets together. I always thought it was a strange little tradition because the beads were either glass or plastic, depending on what Dad bought, and they weren’t cute.

My dad was never the type to tell us he loved us — it simply wasn’t his love language. Instead, his love language was spending time with us and gifting us books that he thought we would love.

I’m thirty-six years old now, and I find myself thinking of twelve-year-old me who loved making those strange bracelets. I think about it more now that my father has passed away from multiple sclerosis.

Recently, it was my dad’s tenth death anniversary, and Mom wanted to have a family dinner with all of us.

“I just need to have all of you over for the day, Jade,” Mom said. “It’s difficult, and having the grandkids here will bring me joy.”

Older woman using a smartphone | Source: Pexels

Older woman using a smartphone | Source: Pexels

I couldn’t argue with that.

So, on the day all of us — my brothers and their families included — went over to Mom’s place for a barbecue in the garden.

A barbecue, because it was Dad’s favorite Sunday activity — he loved standing at the grill with his tongs.

The kids were running around, jumping in and out of the pool, eating popsicles, and giving my mom the joy she wanted.

Eventually, the talk turned to sharing memories of my dad.

Travis, my older brother, went on to talk about how our father taught him how to ride a bike.

“He always let go too soon, and that’s how I ended up with those scrapes on my knees and arms,” Travis laughed. “But hey, I learned how to do it!”

Adam, the middle child, spoke about how Dad used to give him relationship advice.

“Oh man,” he chuckled. “It was great advice, but it was always so cheesy! I didn’t think it would work, but it did.”

Boy riding a blue bicycle | Source: Pexels

Boy riding a blue bicycle | Source: Pexels

Eventually, it was my turn to share something. And as much as I loved being surrounded by my family and hearing all the stories about my father, my heart ached from his loss.

“My favorite thing is definitely the bracelet making,” I said. “The dad jokes were the best!”

“Why did the sapphire never go to school? It was too busy being a gem—I loved that one!” I laughed. “And the other one, what did the jade say to the diamond? ‘I’m green with envy!'”

My brothers chuckled through their drinks, but my mother, on the other hand, turned pale.

“Where are those bracelets?” Mom asked, her voice a whisper.

“I’m not sure,” I said, confused. “I think in the basement, with the Halloween costumes.”

Without another word, she excused herself to make a phone call.

“We need to find those bracelets now.”

It made no sense, but I followed my mom to the basement. We went through a few boxes, and finally, behind an ancient couch, we found an old dusty bag.

“I think this is it,” I said.

Dusty basement | Source: Unsplash

Dusty basement | Source: Unsplash

Inside, there were ten bracelets — each unique in their pattern of stones. I remembered each one, but I couldn’t remember the big gemstone that lay in the middle of the tacky plastic beads.

It seemed very different.

The next day, Mom asked me to take her to a jeweler. She had a little jewelry box—inside were each of the large gemstones from the bracelets.

“These are worth thousands of dollars,” the jeweler said. “Where did you get them from?”

It turns out that my extraordinary librarian dad had left us a small fortune in the form of hidden stones in bracelets.

When we got to Mom’s house, she made some tea and began to tell me the truth.

“Yesterday, while we were talking about Dad and the bracelets, I remembered a conversation with your grandmother — she asked me whether I had given the ‘precious stones’ to you and your brothers. I had no idea what she was talking about. But when you were talking about those dad jokes, it just clicked.”

Person looking at emerald stones | Source: Pexels

Person looking at emerald stones | Source: Pexels

Grandma told Mom that my father had found them in his early twenties when he went on an archaeological dig as part of a course he had signed up for.

“The course stipulated that anything found should be taken,” Mom said. “So your father took them as a safety net for this family.”

This discovery did more than just change our financial situation—it changed how we saw Dad. We paid off debts and invested in our futures. Mom put together a proposal for a charity so that we could help families who needed to get back on their feet following the loss of a loved one.

Mom insisted that my brothers and I take a gem for ourselves.

Close up of a woman's hand with a ring | Source: Pexels

Close up of a woman’s hand with a ring | Source: Pexels

“Keep it, make it into something. Use it to remember your father,” she said.

I set my stone onto a ring that I wear daily. I wanted my father to be right there with me, especially when the sunlight bounced off the ring.

Now, when I remember those little moments of making bracelets, I remember that my father weaved his love and care into an activity that I took for granted. My father was a simple man, a man who loved books and spent his life sharing his wealth of knowledge. But beyond all of that, he was just a man who wanted to protect his family.

Mom and daughters | Source: Pexels

Mom and daughters | Source: Pexels

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