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Why I Leave the Handprints on the Mirror

To me, these markings made from spit, slobber and happy babies are a reminder that a baby lives in the house, and that these hands are only so small for so long.
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Any and everyone who knows me knows that I'm a neurotic clean freak; I'm a vacuums three times a day, doesn't allow shoes in the house, vacuums the garage, can't leave the house until everything is-in-it's-place kind of clean. Some might call this a tad OCD, I just call it normal. I love being this way and I'm pretty sure my husband appreciates it, too.

So the other day, after my regular Saturday morning cleaning sesh, my husband came into our bathroom and mentioned -- as he always does -- how nice our bathroom looked, followed by a slight head tilt and eye squint. He proceeded to tell me how I'd missed a spot on the bottom of our closet door mirror. At that moment, all I could think about was how dare he criticize my cleaning abilities, he may as well call me a bad mother or fat! But I just turned to see what he was referring to and my mood quickly turned to delight as I remembered that I had intentionally left the 'mess' on the mirror.

See, the markings my husband saw as a mess or a cleaning oversight on my part were in fact art work left by my 10 month old while playing with his "friend in the mirror."

Every morning while I get ready, Jakob gives himself kisses, finger paints with his slobber and leaves behind the most perfectly detailed little handprints on the mirror for me -- I like to think they're for me, anyway. I don't see a mess like most, but the makings of a sweet boy and future artist. At the very least, he keeps himself busy so I can get my teeth brushed and makeup on.

I remember when Heidi and Lukas were Jakob's age, I would leave behind their handprints on the bathroom mirrors and glass doors. To me, these markings made from spit, slobber and happy babies are a reminder that a baby lives in the house, and that these hands are only so small for so long. After the birth of Lukas, I struggled with the overwhelming fear that something would happen to him and I wouldn't have anything of his to hold on to. The mirror art seemed fitting at the time, and even though I don't dwell on that fear anymore, I've continued to keep the messes on display.

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I've read too many stories of parents losing their babies, of the struggles some women go through to have children, or of babies who are unable to leave behind their handprints for whatever reason. I'm so grateful that I have a baby who wakes up every morning and walks up to the mirror in my bathroom and happily gives himself kisses and leaves behind the most precious handprints for me to admire.

So where most things in my house need to be in their place or spic and span, I will leave behind these slobbery treasures just for me. It may look like a sloppy mess to some or that I've missed a spot while cleaning the mirror, but I see so much more and am happy to display it proudly.