Because they’re now 11 and 13, my daughters don’t do Mother’s Day art projects in school anymore.

Gone are the days when I could count on getting handmade clay sculptures or fingerpainted portraits that they’d slaved over in their classrooms. I still get homemade cards, but as soon as my girls have less free time and more disposable income, I suspect I’ll be getting the store-bought kind. Not to mention gifts that they’ve bought with their allowance or babysitting income.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

However, I’ve really enjoyed the homemade cards and gifts I’ve received for more than a decade of Mother’s Days.

In recent years, for example, I’ve received cards like this intricate little creation:

I’ve been honored with effusive declarations of love like this one: (that’s “Kung Fu Panda” that I trump, FYI)

And I’ve even been the lucky recipient of creative coupon cards:

None of them cost a single penny, yet I wouldn’t trade a single one for a diamond tiara or an all-expense-paid trip to an island paradise.

All you moms out there – I think you understand.

(p.s. Happy Mother’s Day!)



I wouldn’t mind a vase of roses
blooming rich and red,
but a thick and fingerpainted pot
is what I’d like instead.

I won’t turn down a gourmet brunch
at a bistro chic and tony,
but I’d much prefer a plate
ornate with painted macaroni.

Exotic chocolates wrapped in foil
no doubt I’d truly savor,
but messy pancakes not quite cooked
to me have much more flavor.

A gorgeous card is nice to get
all gussied up with gold,
and yet a crayoned, misspelled card
I’ll keep for years untold.

A spa day or an evening out
are nice, I have to say,
but I’d rather have the other kind of gift
on Mother’s Day.

The kind that’s not quite perfect
is the kind I’m speaking of,
the one not bought with money –
the one just made with love.


©2011 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz


7 thoughts on “Priceless

  1. My mom pulled out my old cards to her this morning and we had a great laugh over the things I’d made. My favorite is a clay blob that I made for her when I was eight – I told her was an ‘abstract representation of our relationship’ and meant it quite seriously.

  2. i was going through one of my low-mom days. i read your post because my girls too are 13 & 11. i am comforted by seeing the notes- from – the- heart that children make, but soon outgrow. and your so-true poem

  3. Though starlets preen and starve themselves
    And beauty queens rehearse
    There’s nothing quite as sexy as
    A mom with stunning verse.

  4. What a wonderful and astute poem! I love it! I’m a first grade teacher, and each year we make a four-part card: hand drawn picture of mom and me on the cover, thumbprint bluebonnet, letter to mom inside and on the back, handprints. Moms know what moms love. I only wish intermediate grades would keep it going.

    • Thanks for your comment. I love your project – sounds like a lovely keepsake. I do wish they’d continue the projects in middle school, too. I now just have to hint (VERY STRONGLY!) to my daughters that I’d like something handmade from them…

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