Give Me ALL The Handprints!

Before my son went to school, I would enviously eye the art projects that my friends posted from their little ones in class. I was grateful to be able to keep my son at home for his first two years, but how I wanted the arts and crafts and sweet handprints hung up on my fridge. I’d try to replicate ones I saw, from pictures and Pinterest, particularly around any holiday. 

In terms of crafts, my son is especially fond of glue and wants to glue all the things, but me? I’m here for the handprints. Move aside, macaroni art. Give me ALL the handprints. Give me the classic turkey handprints and the questionable shapes where you’re not really sure what it is. Give me that pudgy hand pressed in paint and stamped against the page, capturing just how little our babies are in that precious moment in time. 

I should seek professional help for this…

When my son went off to his first day of school and returned home with his first handprint craft (his hand-painted like a box of crayons) tucked safely in his folder, I was downright elated. I texted a picture of it to half my contacts list. I hung up every handprint that came home, not in that “I’m obligated to do this because I’m your mother but it’s going into the trash the second you forget about it” kind of way, but in an “I’m actually kind of obsessed with your handprint art and perhaps I should seek professional help for this” kind of way. I don’t have much of a problem with tossing the crayon scribbles or other art that he presents (after it’s been displayed for an appropriate amount of time), but I’m a complete packrat with the handprints.

He brought home a handprint Dracula and bat at Halloween, thumbprint pilgrims at Thanksgiving, and a handprint reindeer at Christmas. At his preschool Christmas party, he wore a construction paper headband with his handprints cut out from construction paper to make a reindeer’s antlers, which is still proudly perched atop an elephant statue in my living room four months after Christmas. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been looking forward to whatever Easter handprint was coming our way. I was especially hoping there would be a last day of school handprint to compare to the first one he brought home.

I know it’s silly, but…

Now, our school year has ended abruptly. And let me say, there are so very many things to be mourned during this time of social distancing. There are so many huge milestones and important events in our children’s lives that are being canceled or postponed. There are seniors missing out on their very last everything, and there are so many bigger problems in the world around us… and yet, a piece of my heart is still sad about the handprints, amongst all the other things. I know it’s silly, but I’ve been savoring each moment in time captured in paint upon the page, and now time feels frozen indefinitely.

That being said, I’ve seemingly got nothing but time to fill and a child who thinks I live to entertain him, so we’ve been doing our own handprint crafts at home. We most recently made handprints to send to his grandparents telling them how much we miss them and can’t wait to hold their hands again. We’ve got handprint sheep and footprint bunnies for Easter, and paper tracings of our hands to show their size when all around the world, time stood still. The handprints may not be coming from his school, but they are imprinted on my heart all the same.

Erica Tran
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


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