With Valentines right around the corner, I am lucky enough to have a new Valentine this year. Alice was around last Valentine's Day, but she was barely a month old and pretty busy sleeping, eating and pooping. This year is a whole different story. I now have on my hands a little ball of mommy loving goodness. This morning when I went to get her out of her crib, she was whining and fussing. As soon as she saw me she did a little squeal and reached her little arms out and wrapped them around me. And there goes my heart.
I never realized how much passion and love could come from such a tiny person. Having a toddler is much like having a dog. They forget your transgressions quickly and love you unconditionally. Everyday I feel lucky to be her mom and be the recipient of those sweet squeezes and wet kisses. It is so much emotional responsibility to be the person who makes it all better, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love that she needs me and that I make her feel better when she is upset or hurt. It is part of being a mom and it is a really key job. I am showing her that love and affection are an important part of life. It is a way to communicate feelings and show people how special they are. As parents we are preparing our children for life. I am a firm believer that it is important to be able to give and receive love and it makes you a healthier and happier person.
I certainly can't take all the credit. Hugging seems to be a natural thing for little people. Right now she is in the "hug everything soft" phase. She spends a good part of her waking hours aggressively hugging her stuffed animals. Micky and Minnie are high on the list, closely followed by the big lion. But the number one is Violet the talking dog. Violet sings and talks and is very entertaining to a one year old. When I use the word aggressive, I am not exaggerating. She wraps those little arms tight around said item and hugs and turns side to side while squealing. Very sweet, very passionate. Borderline manic. It is no different when she hugs us. Manic passion on most occasions. It is not just necks that she hugs. She will hug arms, legs, backs, feet, whatever she can get to when the mood strikes. It is not strange to be sitting on my couch and feel your leg being squeezed. When you look down there is a little person wrapped around your calf like a sloth hanging onto a tree. She hugs for as long as she deems necessary and then goes back to playing or watching a show.
The sweetness of having your child love you is something that cannot be replicated. Spouses have made a concious decision to love each other. Children have engrained love that is not a choice, it is a fact. They love you because you protect them, because you provide for them, and because that is what they are programmed to do. I know we will go through phases where that love is not as obvious, but I will know that deep down it is still there. I will chersish these precious moments of her unconditional love and affection and tuck them into my memory so that when she is a belligerent tween and a surly teenageer I can pull those memories out and remember my sweet little baby girl. It may sustain me when at 10 she blames me for a bad haircut, at 13 when she refuses to be seen with me, or at 15 when she hates me for merely existing. Hopefully the memories will prevent me from killing her when she has gotten a speeding ticket or gone over her cell phone minutes. I will know that in that evil 16 year old is my sweet little one year old with chubby arms and soft cheeks who hugged her mommy with all her might every chance she got. That thought helps me to enjoy every second of baby love and soak it all up. I will continue to remind myself not to rush hugs and allow a few more minutes of snuggles before bedtime. This short time of her as a toddler is all I get and I want to have lots of memories to carry me through the tough times of young adulthood and into the adult friendship that will hopefully be there after.
This Valentine's Day will be one of much love at our house. This year I get two Valentines, each with their own special brand of love to give. Both are sweet and both leave me feeling as if I am the luckiest girl in the world. Of course, a side of choclate and roses with those sweet baby hugs would never be refused...