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When you look at some women, they wear oodles of jewelry. Rings on every finger. A necklace and matching earrings for every outfit. Bangles of bracelets.

I have a good amount of jewelry, but don’t wear much of it. Over the years I’ve tended to wear a chosen few pendants or necklaces that had special meaning to me. I think of my own mother, who has worn a Blessed Mother medal virtually everyday since my dad got it for her when they were married about 10 years.

After I pledged a sorority in college (Alpha Sigma Tau for any alumnae and fellow sisters out there), I wore a chain that contained a lavaliere with the letters, an anchor (AST’s symbol) and a half of a heart from my AST Big Sister. I rarely took the chain off.

When I graduated college my biological sisters bought me a charm holder for those charms. I had also accumulated a panda bear (my AST chapter’s mascot), a golden rose (AST’s flower is the yellow rose) and a Goofy charm (my favorite Disney character). I wore the charms, holder and chain with almost everything for years.

Eventually the novelty wore off. I still have the ensemble, but it doesn’t see the light of day much. It’s been replaced with a necklace that basically says “Mommy.”

My husband bought me a silver Lenox heart pendant with my birthstone on it and my daughter’s birthstone dangling from it for my first Valentine’s Day as a mom. Shortly after that, I bought a heart pendant with a German shepherd dangling in the middle of the heart in honor of my dog, Buddy.

I’ve worn the Lenox heart pendant almost every day since I received it. I’ve had to replace the chain over the years (of all things, Buddy snapped it in two when he once jumped up and caught his paw in it).

Eventually the link on my daughter’s birthstone separated, and I almost lost the stone. I took it to a local jeweler to get fixed. With my son’s arrival, I asked the jeweler if he could add a stone for my newborn. He did, so now the heart contains my birthstone and those of my children.

I began wearing the German shepherd necklace the day after Buddy passed away in March 2010. It’s a source of comfort, really, and keeps my “furbaby” close to my heart. The dog charm separated from its heart last May, and I returned to the jeweler who fixed my mother’s necklace to repair the dog. He again worked his magic.

Both hearts now dangle from the same chain. The chain holding the dog charm broke. I don’t mind. It keeps my babies close at heart and are a constant reminder of my current role in life, which I’ve said is a lot like the Peace Corps: It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.