Daily Prompt – By Hand

What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.

One of my favourite presents, which I’m pretty sure I actually still have in a box somewhere, was a card that my mum made me for my birthday. I’m not sure how old I was – maybe like 7 or 8 – but it was a period of time where neither my parents could really afford much; everything was going to bills and paying for our house renovations and the mortgage and buying food every fortnight etc etc. I didn’t necessarily want a present anyway, because I never really wanted to celebrate my birthday.

I remember waking up, and the sun was beaming through the giant windows of the bedroom – it was spring, in the country, so the sun was up saying ‘HEY EVERYBODY, WAKE THE FUCK UP!’ at, like, 5:30 – 6am. There was a giant envelope sitting on the chair near the bed, it was wrapped in some brown paper, that mum had decorated with textas, and I decided to make myself a bowl of cereal, and then sit in bed and see what it was.

I crawled back onto the bed in my pj’s with a bowl of Weetbix, and just as I was about to open my card, mum popped her head in the doorway. She was still in her pj’s as well, and already had a cup of tea in her hand, so I moved over and she came and sat with me on the bed. She apologised for not having an actual ‘present’ like a toy or something wrapped up, but I knew money was tight, and I was okay with not getting a present.

I remember she kissed me on the forehead and gave me a cuddle with one arm, as I opened the brown paper.

Inside was a card. Actually, I couldn’t even call it a card… it was like a card, but with pages. I think it was about 5 or 6 pages. Made with cardboard, and wrapped in wrapping paper, and all joined with some ribbon. It was a story about me, that my mum had written, talking about how I was such a cute little baby, who then grew up to be a talented and creative young boy, who had such an incredibly vivid and wild imagination. She illustrated this story using cut up photographs of me, and it made me cry.

To this day, it is, without a doubt, one of the most heartfelt, handmade gifts I’ve ever received.

After I moved out of home when I was 19, I moved interstate to study, and I came across this ‘card’ amongst my belongings, and it made me cry. To me it’s a symbol of how much my mum loves me, and how much she has always supported me, and my creativity and my artistic expression, and it made me really homesick. And I cried.

About 12 months ago, I found it again. And cried. I miss my mum. I need to visit her more regularly.


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