It was time to upgrade the phone on my carrier’s plan. I knew exactly what I wanted: An iPhone 7 with 128 GB of storage in rose gold. The color was the most important feature because it honored someone who didn’t live long enough to get her own iPhone.
One of my mom’s prized possessions was the rose gold Gruen watch her dad gave up lunches to buy for her. I found that watch shortly after I got the iPhone. Two state-of-the-art devices in rose gold separated by 70 years and both with special importance.
This importance is magnified this year because it marks the 25th anniversary of my mom’s death.
We go through a transition in our feelings for our parents. At first, we resist them. No matter how close we are to our parents, we want to create an identity for ourselves. We resolve not to repeat their mistakes, we adopt trends and technologies they don’t understand, and we argue with their outdated beliefs we can’t believe people still have. When they pass away, we miss them. We wish they were still there to guide us and answer questions we knew they had to face. We then realize that they are with us the whole time. For better and worse, we have become our parents.
The world in which my wife and our raised our children is much different from the one my mom raised my brother and me. We’ve faced problems she couldn’t have imagined. And yet, my mom’s voice and example were there to guide me through those moments. Even without me asking, she was there.
And now I have an iPhone to remind me of her.
Humans have always fashioned and carried objects to remind us of the things we value. It’s why we wear wedding rings, pin brooches with our children’s and grandchildren’s birthstones, and attach trailer hitch covers with the emblem of our university. Our smartphones have become as personal as everything else we carry, from its case to its apps. So, I chose an iPhone to honor my mom and remind me that I will always carry her lessons and her love.