“It’s beautiful! I love it.”

My mama uttered this time and again over the years. Every macaroni necklace, popsicle stick art, and homemade coupon book were met with her heartfelt appreciation. It was always “I love it because you made it yourself.” Boy, that sure sounded like a bunch of malarkey. Everybody knows it’s The Stuff that’s the bomb.

Imagine my surprise when I meant every word after our own kids came along.

We’re the grownups. We have the money and the purchasing power, so if there’s something I really want I can buy it myself. But you know what I can’t buy? The thought and time that goes into something my kids create for me. The feeling I have when I hold what T-man or Bear made with their own two hands. The snapshot of who they are – right now, in this particular phase of life – that’s interwoven with such a personal gift.

Son of a gun. Once again, mama was right.