The Greatest Gift My Mother Ever Gave Me

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Summer Breeze Peonies, 20X20, oil



A memory from my childhood came to me today, as I was thinking of my Mom and all the gifts she gave me, the way she grounded my world and was the center of who I was, and who I have become. I am one of those fortunate people who happened to have an extraordinary, strong, intelligent Mother whose capacity to love gently and without judgment was balanced by her unfaltering ability to brook no nonsense from her girls. While life and the world and growing up and adolescence and my raging shyness swirled about me like a tornado, the moment I thought of my Mother, the noise stopped, the frenetic winds of change quieted, and breathing became easier. Even after I grew up, and moved far away from our East Texas farmstead, she was always a comforting phone call away.

We were not wealthy when I was young, by any means. My parents both worked full time, and ran a working farm in the evenings and on weekends. It was always a stretch to have money above and beyond necessities, and Mom saved a few dollars back from the grocery money every week to buy small gifts for us girls and as a fund for school clothes.

One day, my Mother called me into her bedroom and gave me a package. Inside was a box of 72 Crayons, arranged in tiers with perfect points of every color. I’ll never forget the smell of the wax when I opened the box, and the joy that flooded me from head to toe. I had wanted those Crayons for so long, I could not remember the first time I began longing for them. This memory stands out because it was the moment I realized, with no doubt, that my Mother believed in me. She believe in my dreams and she believed in my talent. This was the gift, one so deep and rich, it has never stopped giving, no matter how many times I unwrap its memory and hold it up to the light.

It never occurred to me until a few moments ago, she probably had a gift for every one of my sisters, something she knew appealed to their hearts, too. But I kept that precious box of 72 Crayons a secret, since she asked me to. Each time I think of those Crayons, I’m bathed again in the warmth and weight of her love. This week is the 2-year anniversary of her passing. I still feel her with me. I may not be able to pick up the phone and call her any more, or sit at her kitchen table and watch her work her crossword puzzles and drink her iced tea, but the echo of her voice and her laughter never leave me. If I had to choose a life again from the beginning, I would choose exactly this one, because it would mean she would be my Mom.

Did your Mother share a gift with you that you’ll never forget? I would love to hear your story!



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Reader Interactions


  1. Thank you for sharing the story of your precious mother and her gift to you. It exemplifies the beautiful love of a mother for a child. She recognized your talent and blessed it.

  2. Nancy, your sweet memory of your mom brought back memories of my mom…my mom made sure I had those special crayons, too…Mom loved any kind of needlework, too, so as I got older she made sure as I had interest she would let me pick out my yarns and fabrics for whatever project I was conjuring up. It was during her last weeks that she gave me that one last special gift – Mom learned porcelain painting after I married and she wanted to be sure just the right person had her supplies and her kilns. There really wasn’t anyone we could think of so I told her I would take those and give it a try. It wasn’t until two years later after a move to Texas that I was ready to do that…but as soon as I picked up a brush and painted my first wild rose I was hooked! I couldn’t stop painting those Home Depot tiles! That was nine years ago…and my painting has given me so many blessings! I know Mom would love your ecourses, Nancy! We always lived a long distance away from home so I was never part of Mom’s porcelain painting other than to enjoy her gifts thru the years. But now I feel like she is always with me when I paint enjoying my progress and smiling at all those roses! Happy Mother’s Day! >^..^<

    • Pat she passed on her legacy to you, I’m so glad you kept up her memory in your gorgeous porcelain work. I didn’t realize you used to live in Texas! For a minute there, I was going to say “come on over and see me!” 🙂

  3. My Mom passed away several years ago. I will always miss her but have fond memories to always keep her near. She taught all her 9 children to embroider at a young age and transferred coloring book pictures to fabric marking every one with cross stitches so we could make our first quilt. She would then sew the patches between strips and quilt them, sometimes having a quilting bee. As soon as we were a little older we girls joined in. As we got older we learned the fancier stitches and had a treasure of Aunt Matha and Liquid embroidery patterns to choose from. Yes, my mom was a demonstrator for both Tri-chem and later Artex. I believe this played a roll in my love for painting as we also used these paints for our own projects. Mama also taught us to sew as soon as we could and we made all of our own dresses. To this day I can’t quite decide where my nitch really is. I think painting is my first choice, but the lovely treasure trove of Embroidery threads and yarns as well as fabric is too overwhelming to resist…I will alway be thankful to a mom who instilled both into me.

    • Elaine she was an amazing talent! You inherited her love for color, texture and creating! Do you still have some of her embroidered works in your home? I used to take my grandmother shopping for embroidery kits, I’ll never forget those trips together.

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