When a present for mom is so poignant and special that it requires an accompanying box of tissues, you know you're on the right track.
For their mother's 55th birthday, Toma and Paul Alexandru – two brothers who live in Bucharest, Romania -- set out to recreate photos from their childhood, complete with similar poses and clothing, and taken in the exact same spots where the originals were snapped some 20 years ago.
"It (is) hard to put it in words why we thought mom would enjoy the photos. We're really close and always have been. We're also trying hard every year to give her interesting presents," Toma Alexandru told TODAY Moms in an email.
"And it's pretty clear she would've loved basically almost anything involving photos of us when we were young, isn't that how moms work?"
Many of the original photos were taken in resorts where the family used to spend their summer holidays, so starting in early autumn, Toma, 29, and Paul, 26, traveled to those places on the weekends, finishing the project by Oct. 23, their mom's birthday.
It was pretty easy to recreate the pictures, Alexandru said. The brothers traveled with a couple of friends: one tasked with taking the photos, and the other holding an iPad with the original pictures and directing the brothers to strike the perfect poses.
The Alexandrus remembered most of the spots where the photos were taken, so they didn't have any problems matching the setting. The biggest issue was clothing, Alexandru said, noting they weren't able to match everything perfectly.
So what did their mom think when she saw the final product?
"She was blown away and obviously cried, so we made sure the present would include a tissue box along with the photo album," Alexandru said.
"I don't think she's able to pick a favorite photo from the batch. She loved them all as they all have their set of memories associated with them. I think the one she finds the funniest is the last one, of Paul sleeping on the side of the bed."