From Real Simple

Real Simple readers reveal the most precious presents from their mothers..

My mother’s greatest gift came after she was gone. She used a certain perfume that was her signature fragrance, and she hoarded bottles of it, since it was difficult to find. When she was down to her last two, she refused to use it anymore. I begged her to just enjoy it, but she didn’t listen. When she passed away, we found the two bottles of perfume. She probably intended to leave one for me and one for my sister. Now, every time I smell that scent, Mom is with me. — Ellen Ogintz, Monroe Township, New Jersey

I can still recall the present my mom gave me for my 10th birthday. It wasn’t something I had asked for, but I was intrigued because a key came with it. The key went with my first diary. I realize now that my mother had provided me with a special place of comfort for my own thoughts and words. In the bottom drawer of my dresser, that faded, worn diary is tucked away in the back corner. Over the years, writing has been my soothing grace, in good times and in bad. –Dawn Miner, Shushan, New York

A green thumb. She taught me everything a gardener needs to know: starting seeds, pruning, tips for caring for houseplants and roses, and landscape design. We spent many wonderful afternoons tending our gardens together throughout my childhood, and I hope to have a daughter someday who will want to do the same thing with me. — Shannon Hunnex, Seattle, Washington

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