In 2004, one of the most popular songs on the radio was John Mayer’s Daughters. It actually went on to be named Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 2005. By then, my own daughter was just seven weeks old and had captured my heart as much as my son had two years prior.

I found myself thinking about the magic of daughters while working on two Christmas gift projects this past December. One was commissioned by a mother who had collected countless notes over the years, capturing funny stories or special moments during her two daughters’ toddler through school age years. Included were several photos that went along with the stories – the girls covered in mud looking mischievous, the girls hugging each other ferociously, the girls holding their tiny puffball of a puppy the day they brought him home.

Within the book, their mother wrote a letter to them, lovingly expressing how much joy they had brought her over those years and the reasons she wanted to compile such precious memories as a gift to them. Now both teenagers, her daughters will always have their early childhood days a page turn away; no doubt a gift that will offer comfort throughout their transitions as they go away to college, gain independence, and start families of their own.

The second gift book was conceptualized by a mother who had taken beautiful, professional quality photographs of the rooms and accents found throughout her home. Created for her two grown daughters, now in their twenties, it was a visual reminder that while they follow their dreams, home will always be here for them, and the memories they built together as a family will stay forever. Especially poignant were the images inspired by their beloved father, who passed away only a couple of years ago; gifts he made for them, expressions he used, or packed bookshelves that fed his insatiable appetite for reading.

Both books brought me true joy as I worked on them. Reading the stories of other families, absorbing the memories they cherish and the recollections they hold dear, brings about a human connection unlike any other. As a mother to a daughter myself, I knew that these four young women – two teens, two young adults – were receiving gifts from their mothers that would touch their hearts forever. Just another reason I love the work I do.

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