I audibly gasped when I opened his miniature back pack upon returning home from a day at Mother’s Day Out, “Awww! Look at how cute that is!” A smile spread across my face from ear to ear. I held it up and turned it around, took in all it’s crafty glory. The poem on the back read,
“This isn’t just a turkey,
As anyone can see.
This very special turkey
was made by hand by me!
Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Kendall”
The sap was oozing out of me like a maple tree. I bounded into the office and shoved the handprint turkey in Scott’s face. “Look at THIS! Isn’t it the cutest thing ever?! Can you believe Kendall’s coming home with little crafts already?!”
“Oh…hmmm.. yeah, that’s nice…. Cool,” he replied in a tone that meant he was merely appeasing me and only barely trying to match my level of excitement by raising his eyebrows for extra emphasis.
I took it back and headed to a wall with a random nail head sticking out of it, a leftover from the previous year’s Christmas decorations. Kendall tugged at my pants, “Goggle, goggle!” he said, pointing to the craft.
“Yes! That’s a turkey, and it’s says gobble, gobble,” I said as I started to hand him the handprint turkey for him to admire his crafty work. He snatched it from my hands and began ripping the yarn from the top.
“*GASP* Oh NO! Let me see that… no… you gave the turkey an owie… let me have it,” I huffed as I pried it from his chubby white knuckles. I re-tied the yarn and carefully hung it on the nail.
It. was. perfect. You’d have thought I just put a new Pottery Barn sconce on the wall the way I was admiring it.
I showed it off to everyone who stopped by. “Did you see what Kendall made?!” I’d exclaim. I even shared it on my Facebook wall. Judging by everyone’s response, or lack thereof, it became pretty obvious that this is one of those things that only a mom would be so over the moon in love with.
And it’s not that he really “made” it. I’m under no illusion that he had anything to do with this other than allowing them to paint his chubby hand and smoosh it to a paper plate. That, right there, is the reason I pay other people to watch my son once a week. They will do things like craft and paint with him, things that I wouldn’t even dream of doing because it’s such a friggin mess. I’m still questioning how they got him to be still long enough to paint and smoosh his hand, and I haven’t ruled out that they may have done it during naptime.
We put Christmas decorations up on Friday and Saturday, and that random nail head needed to be cleared to hold the card box. I took the handprint turkey down and carefully sat it on the bar. It stayed there until today when I finally had the heart to put it up. I placed it in a box that holds several other small mementos of Kendall’s existence up to this point. Before putting it away, I made sure to write the date, Kendall’s age, and exactly where he made it on the back (could just imagine years from now giving myself credit for being such an amazing, crafty mom, forgetting that this was made at “school” while I was home watching a reality show or trolling TMZ.com).
It is one of my most treasured gifts ever. I tear up just thinking about pulling it out year after year and hanging it on the wall as Thanksgiving approaches. (This is really playing out like an awful Hallmark commercial, I know.) I guess it’s just such a mommy right of passage to get that first little handprint turkey. It’s like a fanciful little parenthood talisman. Now I feel such incredible pressure to keep it safe and in one piece. We’ve been meaning to get a fireproof safe for a long time for things like, I don’t know, birth certificates and junk. Maybe this will be the extra motivation we need to finally purchase one.
Kendall is almost 19 months old, like just days shy, and that means he’s closer to his 2nd birthday than his 1st. I’m just amazed.