41: Box of Love

41: Box of Love

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Best Mom Ever!

Box of Love

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.

~Abraham Lincoln

When I was little I followed my mother around like a shadow, never leaving her side. I would bury my head full of curly brown hair into her chest whenever I met someone new.

When September of 1999 arrived, and I was starting preschool, I was nervous. The night before my first day my mother surprised me with a special gift. She sat at her vanity holding a rectangular box wrapped in faded paper with pastel flowers on it. It was no bigger than the palm of her hand. My big brown eyes grew wide at the sight of the little box. Was it a necklace? A bracelet?

“It must stay wrapped,” my mother told me softly. The gift was neither a necklace nor a bracelet; inside was something of a much higher value than any piece of jewelry. “This box is full of my love,” she said. Her grandmother had given her this box many years prior, when my mother was just a little girl. On the side of the box was a small poem written on paper that time had turned yellow. My mother read part of it aloud:

This is a very special gift that you can never see. Whenever you are lonely or even feeling blue, just hold the box close and know that I think of you.

I stashed that box deep inside the front pocket of my new pink backpack. And the next day, when I sat alone on a tiny blue chair while all the other children played, I suddenly remembered that box. I could see its outline through the fabric. Just knowing it was there was enough to ease the loneliness and fear.

Day after day the box of love traveled to and from school with me. It took several months before it returned to its home safe inside my mother’s closet. And now, I still carry that box of love with me wherever I go, in my heart. It provides the support that I need as I navigate my new world as an adult.

~Katelyn Mills

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