Early motherhood is a combination of wonderful and grueling, a test of patience and perseverance, and sometimes it is hard to tell if you are doing a good job. First, you get smiles, then laughs and happy babbling, and these things warm your heart. But still, though you give your baby hugs and kisses all day long, it can be hard to tell what that means to them. Babies can't say thank you or I love you. And sometimes--sometimes, you find yourself doubting your place. Anyone would do, right? My baby doesn't really need me.
Then, it happens. Your baby's first hugs and kisses.
I'd been down lately, dealing with postpartum depression and hormonal crap. I'd started to feel like I wasn't particularly special to my daughter above anyone else. Then two nights ago, my husband picked her up off the changing table, and she launched herself at me. Her little arms squeezed around my neck in an obvious hug, and she smashed her mouth against my face. Last night, she did the same and again today.
There just aren't words to express how much that means. All the doubts and the fears fade away in the power of that moment. My baby doesn't give me hugs and kisses because she has to. It's not like crying for food or sleep. These gestures come wholly from her heart, an expression of love so pure it is hard to fathom, and there are few experiences that can really compare.
Mothers may not win awards. We don't get promotions or raises, and we don't get progress reports to evaluate how well we're doing. But when you get that first real hug and kiss, it feels better than getting all of those things. They're a baby's best "thank you."
Rejoice in that moment, your accolade for a job well done.