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I was recently talking to a friend of mine who had just celebrated a big birthday. He told me how people went all out on the gifts, sparing no expense. When I asked him what his favorite was, he said, “Oh, that’s easy. No contest. It was the one from my daughter. She gathered pictures of both of us and made a big collage that she then had framed. On the wood frame, she painted ‘I love you’ with hearts and stars. That gift made me cry. None of the other store bought ones did.”

That got me thinking. What were the best gifts I have ever received? One that immediately stands out is what my then 17 year old daughter did for me at my last birthday. She told me that I needed to give her a couple of days notice before she could give me her gift. She said that I would need to clear a few hours on my calendar and tell me what day I had chosen. That got me curious. I was sure she was planning on taking me somewhere. One morning, I told her I had cleared my calendar for the next day. The following morning, just before leaving for school, she dropped an envelope on the table. “Happy Birthday, Mom- don’t open this until after I leave. I hope you like it. anthropologie birthday coupon

I was surprised. What in the world could she have given me? I tore open the envelope. Inside was a page of yellow lined paper with the following message:

Dear Mom,

You have your present coming to you, but like the parties you throw for your friends, you have to work for it! That is why I am sending you on a treasure hunt! Make sure to follow instructions carefully. Your notes are small yellow or orange notes. If you have any problems, send me a SMS. Wear comfortable shoes.

Here’s your first instruction. Go to….

P.S. If you had given me more advance notice, I would have had more time to prepare. Thanks a lot! 🙂

Oops. So much for my following her pre-gift instructions of giving her a couple of days warning. Anyway, my blooper didn’t keep her from planning an incredible tour of one of the historic areas in our city that I barely knew. I searched for notes that directed me to a hollow tree stump, to a certain sales person named Dan in a local bookstore and other hilarious instructions that entertained and taught me about hidden gems in my own home town. The different stops included historical information about what I was seeing, a coupon for a used book, and a gift certificate to buy myself some article of clothing at her favorite store, so I would stop borrowing her cool clothes.

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