When I was about 8 years old, I remember handing my mom her Mother’s Day gift. I had made it in school and wrapped it in what was clearly old, wrinkled tissue paper. It was a long time ago, but I remember thinking how I had jipped her and should have saved my allowance to buy her something that was really nice.
As she opened it, I thought about how much she would rather have a pretty scarf or expensive bottle of perfume. Instead, her Mother’s Day gift that year was a key chain.
I had made it in school. Our teacher had given us flat plastic cases that pulled apart. We colored one side of a piece of paper, flipping it over and writing anything we wanted on the other. My art skills have always left a little to be desired, so the flower that I drew and colored looked a little bit like a sick monkey. I wrote her name and address on the other side. I thought, hey, if she ever lost her keys, someone could send them to her.
After we snapped our artwork into the case, we strung a piece of yarn, I think, through a little hole that was punched in the top. Then, we wrapped those key chains in that already-used-once tissue paper, using too much tape to get the packages to stay closed.
As my mom cooed and awed over the present, I knew, just knew, that I would make sure to buy her a gift the next year—not just for Mother’s Day but for her birthday and Christmas, too. And I did.
Then, a long time later, I had my own kids. Now, my hallway is filled with homemade calendars, plaster handprints, painted garage-sale-bought plates, and colored pictures ripped out of coloring books. My living room is decorated with Popsicle stick picture frames and Christmas ornaments brought home since kindergarten.
And I love every one of them, every single one. Each year, I look forward to Mother’s Day just because of those special gifts, made and wrapped by tiny hands.
A few decades and several addresses later, I happened to notice that my mom still has that key chain. I decided then that instead of a fancy bottle of wine or designer handbag, I would get back to the basics and make something for her this year.
There are so many ways to channel your inner elementary child and get some expert help to create another meaningful treasure for your mom on her special day. Just in time for Mother’s Day, check out what you can do at Painterly Potterly, Creative 360, or Painted Turtle.