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Pamela Loxley Drake remembers how special the artwork of children was to her late mother.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeLast night, my husband and I went to a gallery. As we were looking around, a woman with three small children entered. The two girls had pictures they had colored. It reminded me of other pictures colored with crayons.

My mother passed away on Dec. 14, 2000. It was the passing of a woman who had a deep love for children — all children. So I write this for her. As you descended the stairway to the basement, you were surrounded by a gallery of art ranging from the simplest scratched lines of a toddler to the neatly colored pages of an older child. Even teens enjoyed a step back in time to color another page for the gallery they had visited in their younger years.

Each page was a treasure to her. No piece was ever thrown away. Eventually, each found its way into her coloring notebook.

Saved for the child? I think not. I believe they were treasures from these children she loved. She understood that even a simple line was an effort to be recognized. He stood alone at her casket with his arms at his sides. Connor was the youngest great-grandchild before Sydney joined the pack. I knelt down to comfort him and saw the tears streaming down his face, dripping from his chin. I hugged him a moment before he disappeared into the mortuary "family" room, where he stayed most of the day. It was almost time to leave when I walked to the casket one more time. There atop the soft, cream coverlet covering my mother laid a picture Connor had spent the day drawing for Grandma. Then following his example, each of the great grandchildren lovingly drew a picture to accompany Mom on her journey. Sydney's consisted of a few scribbled lines and her handprint, a baby's signature. My mother knew that even the simplest effort deserves recognition. Be it large or small, success or failure, between the lines or freestyle, it is worth praise. We are a variety of people who dress differently, who think differently, who have different histories. We are each unique yet reside in the same notebook. I looked at the flowers surrounding my mother and thought, "They should all have been pictures colored with crayon."

This holiday gifts will be exchanged. Some will be made at school or daycare. Some will be colored and some made of paper. If you are lucky, you will get one made of clay. They could range from stick figures to those lovely gifts made by an older child who began years before with scribbles on a piece of paper.

Gifts. Beautiful gifts.

As we left the gallery, I was struck with a thought. Each gallery should have a child's wall. A big wall where children can display their "early works." Perhaps they will not be classic works, but indeed they will be works from the heart.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."

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