Today, I interviewed a family whose little girl is just a bit older than my Eve. We became fast friends during the half-hour I talked to her parents and photographed them playing. She brought me a book and a plastic baby doll and showed me her yellow school bus. She gave me a high-five and a fist bump (toooo cute) and before I left she gave me a hug. Even her baby sister, five months old, threw me – a complete stranger – some big smiles.
My heart absolutely swells at baby and toddler affection, and how freely its given. I remember the big, open-mouthed baby “kisses” Eve would give when she was about 9 months old. I blogged before about the first time she said “I love you.” And yesterday, completely unprompted, Eve said to my husband, “You’re my best daddy.” His heart melted. He said if she were a teenager, he probably would have turned over the car keys and $20 on the spot.
But the absolutely most wonderful thing about these expressions of love is that they are completely pure. They are given without expecting anything in return.
I know they will stop, when society or her friends or some internal cue will make her too shy or stubborn or jaded for those public displays. Already, she can be reticent to give kisses at times (puckered-up kisses now that she’s 2).
Until then, I’ll relish in each enthusiastic hug, kiss … and fist bump.