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The Mother's Day gift I will keep forever

Every year when Mother’s Day approaches, children and dads begin their search for the perfect gifts to show their moms how much they care.

With three little boys, I’ve been the recipient of many gifts. Some have been thoughtful, some have been unusual, and some have made me laugh.

Many of those gifts are in my treasure chest of cherished keepsakes. There are handwritten gift certificates for five-minute back rubs, washcloths with tiny painted handprints captured for a lifetime, and adorable handmade cards and letters drawn just for me.

I arrived at the store in time to see my husband helping our three-year-old, Jason, pay for his purchase.

One gift in particular, though, is etched into my heart.

My husband and I wanted to teach our sons about the joy of giving, so at an early age they began earning the money to buy their gifts. Of course a toddler can’t do big-boy jobs, but we gave them age-appropriate tasks such as picking up their toys. We had fun watching their excitement as they saved their money for the big shopping day.

On the way to the mall, I pretended not to listen as the boys whispered about what they planned to buy. “Mama, you’ll have to go to another part of the mall while we shop so you won’t see what we buy for you,” my oldest son piped up.

We agreed to meet at a particular store in an hour, and my husband headed into the mall with three excited little boys clutching their shopping money.

I arrived at the store in time to see my husband helping our three-year-old, Jason, pay for his purchase. I stepped back where he couldn’t see me so I wouldn’t ruin his surprise.

While his dad waited for the receipt, Jason sat down on the floor holding his prized purchase. As I watched, enjoying the animated expression on his sweet little face, he opened the new billfold, pulled the last dollar bill out of his pocket, carefully folded it and placed it inside.

Twenty-five years have passed and I no longer have the billfold, but I still have that dollar bill, and the memory of my precious little boy tucking love into that billfold will remain with me forever.

And every time I look in the scrapbook where I have that dollar—folded just like he gave it to me—I am reminded once again that every day as a mom has been God’s special gift to me.

Michelle Cox's new book, Just 18 Summers (co-authored with Rene Gutteridge), will release on April 1 and is available for pre-order now. Visit Michelle on her website at www.MichelleCoxInspirations.com, on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MichelleCoxInspirations, and check out her parenting blog at www.just18summers.com.