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The First Time She Hugged Me
I’ve always listened at a distance to mothers sharing their birth stories – tales of joy and triumph and tears – explaining that beautiful, weighty feeling of a baby being laid on their chest, freshly swaddled and newly birthed.
And as emotional as that moment was for me, it pales in comparison to a milestone I hold far more dear: the first time my daughter hugged me.
It had been a frenzied morning, one of fussiness and boredom and general discontent, for both mama and baby. The weather was warm and sticky as we ventured outside for a breath of fresh air, willing a change of scenery to redeem our harried day.
I scooped Bee up to sit on my lap as we settled into a park bench nearby our home when she’d noticed a string on my dress. Playfully tugging and pulling at the thread, she giggled innocently, lost in a universe different than my own.
And then, the hug. She lunged upward with both arms, interlocking her hands behind my neck as if we were crossing a river together, one with rushing water beneath and a strong instinct for survival.
It was brief and wordless, but I immediately glanced around, wondering if anyone else had shared our special milestone. Had someone witnessed this beautifully ordinary moment that delivered so much weight and yet – so little meaning?
There were children swinging, balls launching, feet stomping, mothers chatting – all immersed in their worlds, spinning as they should, propelling the moment to pass as quickly as it had arrived.
And it was nothing, but it was everything. It was a connection, a gesture – a bond we’ll share time and time again as we navigate life together, one mother and one daughter.
There will be more hugs – some of obligation, others of necessity. Hugs of protection and anguish, empathy and celebration. But this hug – on this day – was the first. The only.
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