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Love that comes from little hands

As a mother, my favorite keepsakes are the handmade gifts my daughter has crafted through the years.

The bejeweled heart-shaped pin. The hand-drawn bookmark. The boondoggle key chain.

And the cards. Oh, all those handmade cards!

It began in preschool when she had teachers who made the time for the children to make gifts. How fortunate our daughter was to experience this.

There is nothing quite like watching a 4-year-old sneak a gift into the house and find a place to hide it.

Our daughter continued to make her father and me gifts and cards in those years after preschool -- and still does. She also made gifts for other people. My mother still has an acrostic poem taped on a wall in her hallway.

You can't miss it. It's 6 feet long and 18 inches wide and spells out Happy Mother's Day.

"H" is for "Has a great attitude." "P" is for "Perfect at everything." "T" is for "Terrific at being a grandma."

The paper has ripped. The lettering faded. But that does not matter to the woman who "D -- Does nice things!"

Through the years I have received many small handmade gifts wrapped in Kleenex and held together by half a roll of tape.

One time I carefully unwrapped my portrait, drawn in pencil on a 4-inch-square piece of lined paper. Flowers dance around my coiffed head, and my dangling earrings have hearts at the ends, as does my necklace.

I still carry this in my wallet.

Take a look around your office and you'll likely see handmade gifts your co-workers have received from their children. A paper flower with little pink handprints as the petals. A laundry detergent cap used as a flower pot to hold paper flowers and kids' pictures glued to Popsicle sticks.

Decades after we made them, my own mother still has handmade gifts from my brother and me -- including a little pottery bowl and letter holder.

For many years, my father held onto a lidded cardboard box I had wrapped in scrunched-up aluminum foil to make it look like hammered nickel. He displayed it on his dresser and used it to store coins and other small objects.

This was the man who also wore the neckties I made him out of my mother's old decorator fabrics. The fabrics were wildly patterned. The sewing, not so good.

Still, many days he wore them to work -- or at least until he drove out of the neighborhood.

Now, with Mother's Day approaching, those with grown children will recall these gifts they still treasure.

And those with young children will be reminded just how many gifts can grow from a child's single handprint.