“You never realize how much your mother loves you,” wrote Australian author Pam Brown, “till you explore the attic—and find every letter you ever sent her, every finger painting, clay pot, bead necklace, Easter chicken, cardboard Santa Claus, paper lace Mother’s Day card and school report since day one.”

Chances are, most of the sentimental gifts you gave to your mother or father as a child cost you next to nothing. But the fact that they came straight from your heart meant everything to your parents.

The same principle applies to the gifts you exchange as a couple. Ask yourself: Which gift means more to your partner —the cashmere sweater that you bought off the rack at the last minute? Or that unusual little seashell you brought back from your romantic getaway at the beach?

In “chicken soup for the Romantic Soul” Mrs. B. Barrett reminisces about the long walks along the railroad tracks that she and her husband used to take when they were young and struggling to make ends meet. In those days they couldn’t afford a diamond ring—they could barely afford food and clothing for their children.

One day, while holding hands on their walk, they heard a locomotive approaching from a distance. Her husband dashed up to the railroad tracks and placed a penny on them. That night, he drilled a little hole in the shiny flattened penny and attached it to a charm bracelet, saying, “This is so you’ll always remember our walks together.”

Her husband died some years ago, but Mrs. Bartlett wrote that she still has that copper penny, and it means more to her than gold or diamonds. “All I have to do is hold my penny in my arthritic hands and I have him and that day all over again.”

You never know when you’re making a memory. -Rickie Lee Jones


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