My 39, Day 38.

This morning my daughter bounced into the living room and asked in mock surprise, “Gosh Mom! Do you notice anything different around here?”

I’d already seen the elves (climbing the Christmas tree), so that couldn’t be it.

I also hadn’t yet reached the coffee maker and wasn’t in my most observant state. Still, I gamely joined in the fun, eventually eyeing a bulging piece of paper on the sofa end table.

She followed my gaze with a sly grin.

“Hmm. What’s this over here?”

A simple 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, folded lengthwise to form a card, with the loveliest note therein. And a long knot of turquoise, ivory and magenta cords from her friendship bracelet kit.

“It’s a necklace! For you! Happy birthday! And there’s more over here!”

So I followed her to the kitchen table, now flanked by both she and my son, eagerly watching me open the card he’d made, and then trying on the bracelet cord “ring” he’d designed just for me.

After much negotiating, we all decided that I should not wear my jewelry during breakfast prep, but could wear it this evening for my girls’ night out. If I do say so myself, I think their handcrafted statement pieces totally made my outfit.

The joy it gave them ended up giving me pause.

How many times, in a state of cleaning the house from top to bottom, have I dismissed a scribble as yet another annoying little piece of paper cluttering up the joint?

It’s unreasonable to keep every single picture they draw, but maybe I’ve been too quick to prioritize organization and order over what they mean when they leave me little surprises around the house.

Earlier this week my son trotted into our room with a drawing he’d clearly worked hard to create. I had no intentions of parting with it, but he really got me when he looked up tenderly and said, “Mommy, will you promise not to throw it away?”

Change that maybe I’ve been too quick to a definitely.

Tonight, in the last 45 or so minutes I have to be a 38-year-old, I am deeply thankful for two creative, expressive children who show their affection for me in the most thoughtful ways they know how, including bracelet cord jewelry and handwritten notes.

Which by the way, I’m keeping forever.