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January 31, 2017

When you’re pregnant for the first time, it’s only natural to create an internal list of vows. The kind that go something like:

I will make healthy, homemade meals for my family everyday.
I won’t let my house become overrun by baby toys.
I will still make time for my husband and date nights.
I won’t stress too much over things like sleep schedules or the latest parenting trends.
I’ll lose the baby weight.
I won’t lose my mind.

You know… the kind that can only be made when you’re a well-rested, optimistic mom-to-be that actually has zero idea of what’s about to hit her. The kind that get immediately thrown out the window, and are replaced with a new sort:

I will wash my hair daily.
Just kidding... I will wash my hair when I have more than 5 minutes to shower.
I will eat whatever I can quickly grab from my fridge and shove into my mouth.
I will try not to yell at my husband.
I won’t beat myself up over not losing the baby weight... yet.
On a related note, I will embrace how I look in stretchy yoga pants.

And, for all the vows you make yourself, well-meaning relatives and little old ladies at the grocery store love to pile on:Sleep when the baby sleeps, accept help when it’s offered, and — above all else — cherish every. single. moment. with your precious little one because time is fleeting, and you can never get it back.

You smile and nod politely, but eventually those promises are shoved aside, too. In fact, if one more person tells you to “cherish this time while you still can” you may scream. It's difficult to appreciate sleepless nights; dirty diapers; spousal bickering; and all those anxieties flowing through your mind, wondering if you’re really cut out for this after all.

Well, that was my experience anyway. Don’t get me wrong — there’s no job I'd rather have than raising my now 10-month-old baby girl on a full-time basis. But, man, those early days, weeks, and months, were tough. And, I’d be lying if I said that 10 months in, I finally have it all together. I don’t. However, I now know the universal secret that all moms discover at some point: no one has it all together.

I can forgive myself for neglecting the treadmill and letting dishes pile up. I do, however, feel guilt over not savoring more milestones, laughs, and cuddles. I started strong with a journal to record such moments — but, the last entry dates back to when she was 4 months old. Like regular date nights, her journal sadly got pushed aside.

If I wanted to document her first year, I needed something easier.

And then… during a particularly rough sleep regression, Kristi reached out to ask my opinion on a new handprints keepsake poster she was working on. In the past,Kristi wrote about her own struggle to slow down with little ones, leading to the creation of Barn Owl’s first piece of handprint art. Now, she sought the perspective of a new mom.

The new handprint keepsake art read:

“These tiny hands can throw a kiss, reach up oh so tall, they can fold in prayer, say hello, and leave smudges on the wall, they can clasp your hand, wave goodbye, and throw a ball to play. Save them here to be with you when I’m grown and far away.”

The text had the same sentiment behind that well-intentioned advice:cherish the now. But, something about these particular words resonated with me. It painted a picture: it reminded me that just two months ago, I was delighted by June just learning how to wave “hello” and “goodbye.” I smirked thinking how June’s little hands can not only throw a ball, but also food off of her highchair... a small act of defiance that I actually find kind of funny. And how on those sleepless nights, sometimes the only way she'd finally settle was by searching for my hand with her own little hand, seeking comfort and security before drifting off.

But, the last line hit me most. Someday, June’s little hands won’t be so little anymore… they’ll be packing the belongings of her childhood bedroom, and carrying them to her first dorm room, or apartment, or overseas adventure. The waves “goodbye” will seem more frequent than the “hellos,” and they’ll no longer want to clasp my hand. Instead, they'll seek out the hand of a future partner or perhaps her own children. 

But that day isn’t here yet. So, today I’m sticking those chubby little hands into some nontoxic ink and placing them onto Kristi’s thoughtful poster. And, when I finally get around to hanging the piece, it’ll serve as a reminder that those little hands will always have a big impact on my life… even when they're full-grown. Let's just hope they'll remember to use a phone and call Mom now and again. 

xoxo ~ Cassie

You can purchase thehandprints keepsake poster here. You may also be interested inadditional handprints wall art from BOP.

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