It was never anything exciting. It was something we immediately put aside as soon as we opened it, and some responsible adult would scoop it up and put it some place safe, so it didn't end up thrown away with the wrapping paper. They ended up tucked away in my mom's cedar chest and never thought of again.
For our 18th birthday, our mom had all our single, insignificant little pearls strung into a necklace for us. I remember opening that gift on my 18th birthday and being overcome with emotion at what a lovely tradition that had been and what a beautiful product resulted. No matter how insignificant those single pearls were all those years, strung together, they were beautiful and so incredibly meaningful.
I remember being so incredibly proud the first time I wore that string of pearls. Still, I wear them often and always think of the beautiful story behind them when I do. Did you know it's important to wear your pearls often? The oils on your skin help them keep their luster! I'd wear them anyway though. I always feel so so blessed to have a mom who started such a beautiful tradition, and so classy and grown-up when I see them around my neck.
I hope I have a daughter someday, so that I can continue this tradition with her. I know I'll laugh all those years when she just tosses those pearls aside, not realizing what they will become some day. And I know I'll be so incredibly proud the first time I see that string of pearls around her neck on her 18th birthday.