This morning, I woke to the tiny fingers of a 3-year-old intertwined in my own. 

I’m not sure how long we were like that or even when he crept from his room to ours, but somehow, our hands found each other and stayed like that until sunrise. I lay there for a few extra minutes before getting up, listening to his soft breaths and watching his eyelids flutter while he dreamed. 

And in the stillness of the morning, my mind whispered This. This is the part of motherhood I desperately want to hold on to—these perfect moments only we know.

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As parents, we take pictures of all the exciting stuff. The birthday parties. The family vacations. The award ceremonies. We post them on social media and blow them up to hang on our walls. The big, shiny moments get all of the recognition, but it’s the small ones that mean the most. 

If I could bottle up all of the little details of this life, I would.

Like the way the baby wiggles her butt every time she hears music, even if it’s just the jingle of a TV commercial.

The way the toddler says “my” instead of “I” and I can’t bring myself to correct him because hearing his adorable voice say, “My love you, Mommy,” melts me entirely.

The way the 4-year-old furrows his brow and sticks out his tongue as he concentrates on writing his letters. 

I want to hold on to it all.

Dance parties in the kitchen.

Bubble beards in the tub.

Chocolate milk before sunrise.

Little red cowboy boots that are always on the wrong feet.

Knock-knock jokes that make no sense but leave us all in a fit of laughter around the dinner table.

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These are the moments an outsider might overlook. There’s not a line to write them on in the baby book, nor will they make the annual Christmas card—but they’re precious, and I know I’ll miss them most once this season of our life has faded into the next.

Someday, when my daughter is grown (and maybe expecting a baby of her own), she’ll ask what life was like when I was a young mom. I’ll smile and pull out some pictures to share with her, and maybe she’ll get it . . . kind of.

But a photo could never capture the scent of lavender shampoo when a baby falls asleep on your chest, or the feel of puckered toddler lips pressing into your cheek.

So while I’m here living these moments, I’ll do my best to memorize them.

I’ll save them up in my mind and heart and pray that they’ll stay there forever.

If I could bottle up all of the little details, I would.

And I’ll never stop trying.

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward