Today I got my first real, big, squeeze-you-hard-around-the-neck hug from Olivia. It melted me down to my toes, one of those moments where you just fall further in love with your child even though you thought you’d already fallen about as far as a person could. When I went and took her out of bed after her morning nap, she wrapped those little arms around my neck and didn’t let go for several heart-bursting minutes.
This was, however, not her first hug. Nor was it her second, or even her third. No, she had been handing out fierce, adoring little hugs for a few days already now. To whom, you wonder? Well, Nicole of course.
I’ve said it before and I truly hope I’ll say it again, my favourite thing about my girls is how fierce their love and loyalty for each other is. At a few weeks old, after charming us all by choosing to smile instead of ‘root’ every time you stroked her cheek, Olivia made eye contact with Nicole for a few moments and cracked a great big smile. The next few smiles were reserved for her as well, and then eventually she spared some for the rest of us.
And naturally, when she started doling out great big slobbery baby-kisses, all open-mouthed and mildly disgusting, the first few batches went to Nicole. (And Chris has still received but a few; she follows him around the house with adoring eyes, but is not inclined to kiss that prickly face.)
And so it stands to reason that Nicole would get the first hugs, as well. It’s not as if she hasn’t earned them. She’s doled out more than her fair share over the last ten months. I can’t even really feel jealous, my heart is just so full when I watch them loving on each other.
Now, don’t be fooled into thinking life is all peace, harmony and slobberkisses between these two. Nicole occasionally gets frustrated and hides from Olivia… when she remembers that that’s how we are supposed to deal with it. She’s just as prone to push her away or screech out, “O-LIVE-EE-YAAAAHHHH!!!!” Olivia, being feisty and determined, sometimes accepts this challenge. With a shrill of excitement, she stalks and hunts Nicole, jumping on her and pulling her hair with delight. Sometimes this evolves into giggles and games. Others, not so much. As time has gone on, Nicole’s knee-jerk reaction to Olivia crying has gone from gentle shushing (as in the below picture) to hollering ‘It wasn’t me!’ (even finding it necessary to shout from across the house and when far away from each other) or even just flat-out ignoring it.
However, Nicole still runs into their room when Olivia can be heard waking up. Sometimes she sneaks into the crib to play, and I pretend not to notice for a few minutes. Or if Olivia is the first to wake, she has been known to either smack Nicole in the face, if she’s been freed from the crib, or just yell in Nicole’s direction until her big sister awakens. Nicole is rather notorious for being a wretched beast if anyone wakes her up, more akin to something you’d expect to have found deep in the jungle than under a bubblegum pink comforter, but Olivia somehow gets a pass.
I don’t know whether or not we will be blessed with more children. It would be nice, but I don’t think I’ll even pray for it; I’ll be too busy giving thanks for these full hands and this full heart.
(I don’t always feel so grateful for those full hands; just watch me try to load the dishwasher when Olivia is on the lam and you’ll note that ‘thankful’ doesn’t come to mind when trying to describe my demeanour)
Two little girls who love each other deeply, with hands that pat and hug more often than they push and shove. Mouths that smile and kiss and giggle far more often than they frown and shout and cry. I pray that my heart dwells on these important things more than petty little things like what people are saying about me, or not saying, or whether I’ve folded all the laundry, or where on EARTH I put my mop pads. (If seen, please return them to my floor; their absence is getting quite noticeable)