Saving up all the sweetest hugs around
My baby girl has yet to blow me kisses, and she seems intent on emptying every drawer and cupboard in the house, but one thing is certain: she gives the best hugs.
Olivia is 14 months old and I swear she never stops moving. Her favorite game is to wait until I open the refrigerator, then she grabs the yogurt (stored at her level perhaps I should move it?) and runs into the living room.
I give chase, with images of goopy yogurt splayed across the carpet, and she squeals with delight at what she thinks is a game.
Then, when I'm about to catch her, she heaves the yogurt with all her might to rid herself of the evidence. (So far all the yogurt caps have held tight, thank goodness.)
She also, with glee, pulls books off the shelf and then proceeds to leaf through the volumes like the most studious reader. Sometimes she even refrains from ripping.
These are all toddler antics, I'm sure, and will pass as every phase tends to do.
But right now she does something that melts my heart no matter her offense (thankfully she can't do too much damage, yet).
When I pick her up, she wraps her arms around my neck and cuddles her head to my shoulder.
Sometimes these hugs are fleeting a quick reassurance after she's taken a fall, or just to check in with mom but other times it seems like she'll never let go.
And sometimes she sets her mouth in a determined line and growls as she squeezes, something that makes me laugh every time so she, as with all positively reinforced behavior, keeps it up just for the response.
The phases of childhood are fleeting, I know. It seems like just yesterday I held her tiny body in my arms and marveled at her perfection.
Those infant snuggles are wonderful too, as babies cuddle next to your beating heart.
But Olivia's hugs now are of a different sort, ones she gives of her own volition.
I cherish those hugs, and never take one for granted because I know someday she might be embarrassed to hug her mom in public, or too busy to stop for a snuggle.
I take these hugs any way I can get them, and hold on tight because I know, all too soon, she will be the one letting go before I'm ready.
Lisa Britton is a reporter for the Baker City Herald.