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This mom's back-to-school creation is going viral for all the right reasons

“Why don't we do a handprint for every year and then we can see it get bigger as he gets older?”
Gus Rodriguez wears the cute creation his mom, Carina Cansino, made for him.
Gus Rodriguez in the cute creation his mom, Carina Cansino, made for him. Carina Cansino
/ Source: TODAY

As parents are sending their kids off to school in all sorts of unforgettable ways, one mom’s creation is being celebrated for its creativity and cuteness.

Carina Cansino, 21, is a project coordinator at a telecommunications company in Dallas and a single mom to 5-year-old Gus Rodriguez. Starting last year, when Gus was on his way to preschool, Cansino got an adult large shirt made with the words “Class of 2032” on the front.

Carina Cansino with her son, Gus. Carina Cansino

“I had seen something similar to it on Pinterest,” she told TODAY Parents. “I saw the parents just do the year, so when I decided to do it, I wanted to add something so my son could partake in it and enjoy it just as much as I do.”

That's when she had the idea: “Why don't we do a handprint for every year and then we can see it get bigger as he gets older?”

“I was so excited when we did it the first year that I started to cry,” she said.

But this year, when Cansino shared her creation again on social media, her post went “crazy viral.”

“I gained about 13,000 followers from the post and there are people everywhere telling me they’re following because they want to see Gus grow up,” she explained. “They feel like they have adopted him in some way.”

As of publication, Cansino’s post on Twitter had been retweeted more than 30,000 times and gained more than 200,000 likes.

“I’ve never wanted to see someone grow so bad,” one person replied. Another added: “Dude I need the Netflix version of this, I want to be able to binge the next 12 years of this kid's life by the end of the week.”

Cansino said she hopes her story will “inspire other young women to be and do better and keep striving.”

Carina Cansino and her son, Gus, add a handprint to the special shirt.Carina Cansino

“I was a teen mom and I just wanted to share my story with people,” said Cansino, who had Gus when she was 15. “As a young mother, I did what I did so I could to give my son the best. Even though it may be hard, I was still able to create something sentimental for him and us.”

In addition to working full time, Cansino also goes to school at night. She says she is two semesters away from receiving her associate's degree in psychology from North Lake Community College. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a university.

Cansino said she's grateful to have such a special little boy by her side.

“He is more on the loving and kind side. He sees a lot of maternal love from me, so he is very emotional,” she said. “But he also consoles me when I get upset, telling me, ‘Everything is gonna be OK.’”

Gus on his way to kindergarten. Carina Cansino

“It’s crazy to believe that a 5-year-old can uplift your spirits the way that he does, but that’s who he is. He’s just a sweet, kindhearted boy.”

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