It was a lot like a teenager’s first kiss—open-mouthed, slobbery and one of us was caught totally off guard. Yet it somehow managed to be a profound and earth-shaking moment in the bleary-eyed beginning of motherhood.
I had rejoiced and cheered for every first (and still do!), including the time she found her belly button. I dutifully read baby books and continue to use techniques to help her practice and reach her next developmental milestone. But teaching her to “kiss” really started out as a cute and funny thing. In fact, my husband was the first to try and coax a kiss from her (with no luck I might add). Some well-meaning person a long time ago said “practice makes perfect,” and so we practiced. Eventually she would lean toward our faces with our prompting to “give us a kiss,” but usually we would whack heads.
So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when it did happen. We had a couple of rough days (and nights) thanks to teething. Then she took an uncharacteristically long nap (hallelujah!). When she woke up, I went in her room, turned on my mother’s old milk glass lamp that gives off a soft light and whispered, “How was your nap Madeline?” She sat up—the best she could in her Halo sleep sack—and smiled the biggest smile. She reached up with her chubby arms and I picked her up. That’s when it happened. She looked at me very matter-of-factly and planted one on my lips. I stood there in shock for a second. Then came the wave of emotions—joy, pride and love. Lots of love. I hugged her tightly and said, “Mama loves you!” over and over again.
Later that night as I was lying in bed thinking about that moment I started to cry. Perhaps it was because I was so tired. Or that I had been pouring all my love and time into this little person for the last 13 months and she could finally communicate love beyond her snuggles. God willing there will be many more kisses and hugs and even a time—those pesky teenage years—when such acts of love will be seriously embarrassing. (“Seriously embarrassing, Mom!”) But I will never forget that precious first kiss bestowed so messily—and meaningfully—as I stood beside her crib. The memory will always make me cry–just as it is right now.
Do you remember your first kiss from your baby? Tell me about it!