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Mother's Day Portraits: 3 Moms' Most Memorable Gifts

By:  Scott Kelby May 2, 2014
Scott Kelby

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, it’s time again to do something special that honors our mothers, who in my opinion are the most special people on the planet. As we order our Mother’s Day presents and pick out special gifts, I thought it would be interesting to ask some of my friends and family, "Of all the Mother’s Day gifts you’ve received over the years, which one has been the most meaningful and memorable to you?"

Not one mother I interviewed listed a diamond ring, or a fancy meal, or even a store-bought gift as their favorite Mother’s Day gift. The special presents that captured their hearts are much different than that. 


Barb and Kalebra
Scott Kelby

'100 Reasons' Was Just the Beginning

If you ask mother of five Barbara Stephenson about a Mother’s Day gift that holds a special place in her heart, she won’t have to look very far. That's because it’s hanging prominently on a wall in her home — three framed letters she received on Mother’s Day in 1995 from her daughter Kalebra. Within the frames is a piece titled, “The Top 100 Reasons Why I Love My Mother.” When Barbara first read the list, tears rolled down her face because she saw how much the small, almost meaningless, daily activities had touched her daughter’s life in ways she never imagined. 

The list is filled with items both big and small, like No. 10, “I love the way she likes to look through catalogs with me,” or No. 31, “I know I love her because I can be with her all day, but I still want to call her when I get home.” And touching sentiments like, “I love her for believing in me even when I didn’t.” 

Barbara says what makes this so special is how it brings back memories of Kalebra’s childhood. Reading about these wonderful times makes this a gift she would never forget.

But the gift was just the beginning. Later that same year, a local country music radio station had a contest to find the “Woman of The Year.” To enter, people were asked to explain why the person nominated deserved this distinction. Although there was a 100-word limit, Kalebra still submitted a copy of her “100 Reasons” as the nomination for her mother Barbara. The radio station was so blown away by the entry that they allowed the submission. Just days later, Barbara was presented with the “Woman of the Year” award by country music star Naomi Judd. This included an all-expenses-paid trip to Nashville, Tenn., for Barbara and Kalebra to attend the Country Music Awards at the Grand Old Opry. They attended together, loved every minute, and had the time of their lives. 

This was just all icing on the cake for a mom who now gets a silent reminder every day what she means to her “all grown up now” little girl, who loves her mom very much.  


Jacque and Sarah
Scott Kelby

'Love Always Floats'

As her daughter Sarah was heading into her teens, Jacque was dealing with the depths of depression, something she had struggled with for years. This was the beginning of a very difficult time for their relationship, but through it all, Jacque held onto an old Mother’s Day card given to her when Sarah was little. The message read “Love Always Floats.” Jacque said of her daughter, “I was afraid I was going to lose my relationship with her over the years, but holding onto that card, and holding onto that thought — it always stuck in my head — that idea that ‘Love Always Floats.’ It was something that got us through a lot.” 

Today, Sarah is married with a beautiful family of her own, and Jacque and Sarah share a very loving and strong relationship. It turns out Sarah’s card was absolutely right.

“Love Always Floats.” 


Max and Dee
Scott Kelby

Another Side of Her Son

Ten years ago, Maxx made a special gift for his mom Dee Hammond for Mother’s Day, all by himself. Dee remembers how excited Maxx was to bring her this special bracelet as his Mother’s Day gift. She still recalls the wrapping, stating, “It had little flowers all over it, and it was this big production. He was just so happy with what he had made.”

“That was where I first saw Maxx’s creative side come out. It was through this bracelet that I could tell he really thought about what I would like. He wanted to arrange the beads ‘just right’ for me. He put such care and such heart into his little gift. He was so proud of it, and I was so proud of him. I just couldn’t take it off. I wore it everywhere for years and years, and I still do.” This is the reason this bracelet means so much to Dee.


At this point, many of us may feel it’s too late to draw a handmade card, or build a bracelet from scratch, or put pen to paper to share how we really feel instead of buying a fancy new watch or a smartphone, but for moms, a memorable gift doesn’t come from the store. It comes from the heart. That’s just another thing that makes them so special.

Here’s wishing all the moms out there a joyous Mother’s Day filled with proud little boys, happy little girls, and gifts that don’t need to be plugged in to charge. Happy Mother’s Day! 


Scott Kelby

Scott Kelby is the editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine and President of KelbyOne.com. He is the co-host of the highly acclaimed weekly videocast The Grid, and teaches photography, Lightroom and Photoshop workshops around the world.

Scott is an award-winning author of more than 50 books, including The Digital Photography Books, The Adobe Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers, and Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It: Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image

For more on Scott, see his blog www.scottkelby.com.

Scott is part of The Opener, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that will bring the best food, culture, and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey.