Ro Viera of Amherst, MA

Picture of winner's bracelet

When I was a little girl, my mother had a beautiful charm bracelet that I loved to play with. The charms were given to her by her father and later by my father. I loved that there was a story behind each charm and decided that when I grew up I’d have a charm bracelet too. Sadly, our house was broken into one day and her bracelet was stolen. Thirty years later, my mother still grieves for that bracelet. If I had a bracelet that told the story of my life, it would have to be a bracelet about Dreams. The dreams that we have for our lives, the dreams we’ve seen come true, but also having to cope with the things you never dreamed life would throw at you. The sewing machine charm (charm #0732) reminds me of my mother and how she’s always been there for us. When I was young she was always at her sewing machine making clothes for my sister and me. Our family didn’t have a lot of money, and this was one of many ways in which Mom made sure we had what we needed. Having a book charm (charm #3160) would be very important. Books have opened up so many worlds of possibility and dreams for me. I’m never lonely as long as I have a book in hand. I read about France and decided that I wanted to learn French and see Paris, and this dream came true. The Eiffel Tower charm (charm #1381) represents this amazing experience and how being able to speak French has opened so many doors for me that it’s literally changed my life. Loving travel and languages and meeting people from around the world, my dream job was to work in the travel industry. The pineapple charm (charm #7777), the symbol of hospitality, is for 17 years working in that industry. The horse charm (charm #0174) reminds me of my dad, who passed on to me a love of horses, and also represents the dream of horseback riding. Like many young girls, I longed to learn to ride, but my family couldn’t afford it. Being able to fulfill this dream as an adult was an amazing experience, one I wouldn’t trade. Dad didn’t live to see it, but he’d have been thrilled to hear of my adventures on horseback. The initial “R” charm (charm #4766) is for my sweetheart and me together - we share the same initial. The right place for this charm is in the center of my bracelet. What else can I say but that through thick and thin, we’ve never lost the ability to laugh together. Seven years ago, we were amazed to be given the gift of a beautiful little boy, hence the next charm (charm #2640). The baby that changed our lives has taught us so much. He suffers from health problems and developmental delays. He has to work so hard to do the things that come naturally to other children, like learning to speak, as represented by the ABC blocks charm (charm #8336). But when he finally accomplishes something, he is so proud of himself. The mixer charm (charm #2008) is for my life right now. Since I literally didn’t know how to boil an egg, I never dreamed I’d be spending much of every day cooking for my son’s special-needs diet. My favorite thing to do is baking desserts (I also love to eat them!) and I’m proud to have made his birthday cake this year. The final charm would have to be the sun charm (charm #6486) to represent hope for the future: for health, and for time together, and for more dreams to make our lives richer.

Ro Viera

Amherst, MA

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