these hands

I took these photos one afternoon a few weeks ago.  It was a moment when I was truly cherishing my little ones.


With their sweet hands that clean.


And build.


And craft.


And draw.

But I’m afraid I don’t always cherish these moments. Too often, I see it like this:


Audrey wasting another diaper wipe.


#3 making a mess in the living room.


#2 using far too much tape.


#1 leaving his papers strewn about the table. Again.

Ugh. I hate admitting that.  Do you know what I mean, though? So often I miss the joy of their playfulness and creativity because I’m more concerned about things like wasting tape and not wanting to clean up another mess. Things that are necessary, no doubt, but not things that show my children how much I value them.

My babies’ hands make messes. They hit. They drop their food on the floor and wipe their sticky fingers on the sofa.

But they are everything I’ve ever hoped for.

They are full of curiosity and unlimited talent. They share their toys. They offer to help. They draw amazing pictures and write silly stories. And they give the sweetest hugs.


I created this little note card to put up in my office : sometimes I just need a gentle reminder to refocus my perspective. Perhaps you do as well.


Being a mommy can be a thankless job. We may not hear much gratitude for all we do, but I know that simply by loving our families to the best of our ability, we are making a difference. And perhaps with the right attitude, this great responsibility and honor can be full of joy and grace even when it’s messy.


Sorry that I overlooked that many people have one child! So here is a card for you.

And a family one as well.


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120 Responses to these hands

  1. {darlene} April 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    loving you for this post…..
    too often I see it that way…………..

  2. Michele April 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Thanks, Emily! By the way, I just called Holly, Emily, at her blog. Goodness, both of you girls inspire me so much. You are both a blessing!

  3. Christy April 7, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I laughed at your little caption saying she was wasting another diaper wipe-my daughter does the exact same thing and while she’s doing it says she’s “playing cinderella” its pretty sweet I let her waste a few too many wipes.

  4. sara April 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    i just wanted to thank you for this sweet and honest post. i shared it with my mom’s group and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

  5. Beth April 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    I just found this post, and I l-o–v-e it! Thank you so much for the honesty. This exact thing is probably what I struggle with the most with my children. I cannot seem to let go and live. I am always looking at the mess, or the waste, or the time, instead of the blessing. I will def. print off one of these cards! Thanks again!

  6. Cara @ WhimsySmitten August 13, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Thank you, I’ll be printing one of these for every room of the house. I’m a housemom/mom of a total of 11 kids and there are days when I forget how abundantly blessed I am. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  7. Carole August 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    That is so sweet. Thanks for the reminder. It’s funny how I relate to the names of all four of those sweet kiddos. I have grandchildren named Audrey, Brady and Ethan! And a Macie who would have been named Mason had she been a boy!

  8. Laura August 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Perfect PDF. Thank you for the always reminder!

  9. Suzan August 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    Thank you so much! How about a sign that says “My grandchildren are a blessing!” Thank you again!

  10. Beth Werner Lee August 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    I was going to print out the first and then I saw your update.
    Thank you, from a one child mom crying grateful!

  11. Michelle August 15, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    I really, really know what you mean!! Thanks for the printable cards. Have a wonderful Monday!

  12. Joyce August 15, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    We women sometimes need to look at our husbands the same way. My sign should read “My husband is God’s gift” – same thing as viewing my family as a blessing. This truly is a choice, an intentional change in perspective. Transformation, one positive thought at a time in the power of God’s spirit. Thank you for the tune up.

  13. Dianne Rabon August 15, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Thank you for the reminder.

  14. amber August 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    beautiful post~ i love the idea of the printables. sometimes we need those VISIBLE reminders to help keep perspective. :)

    what *a gift* this post was to me RIGHT NOW !

  15. calbrecan January 25, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Thank you for this post. All too often I am caught up in the drudgery of motherhood, and I forget to savor these fleeting moments of pure, unadulterated joy and expressionism. I appreciate the visual reminder.

  16. Lydia March 19, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    ENJOY! As a mom of 4 who have all grown up, the time REALLY does speed by…be sure to take time to HUG them, LISTEN to them, and make sure they know that you ADORE them.

  17. Haley August 28, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    WOW You are so inspiring and humble! I so know what it is to be a mom of four little ones under the age of 7 and I really needed this! You have really changed my motivation and perpective since finding your blog yesterday! I am so tempted to take your blog class.Thank you for reaching out to others and sharing your life and experiences with us! XOXO

  18. Kuini October 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Wow…. that was a real wake-up call. Thank you for the reminder. And I love the photos. 😊


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