Harley has started smiling, and it’s about the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. She is so cute, and that toothless smile is so pure and genuine – it’s amazing to see the most innocent joy cross her face. She loves to smile and is doing it more and more these days. I find myself acting like a circus act or something, willing to make all kinds of silly faces or sounds if it will make her face light up with a huge grin.
It also means that it’s becoming more clear what she likes and doesn’t like. She doesn’t just stare at things that interest her – she can now smile at it. She loves to smile at the TV, or my beer bottle, and she gives the biggest grins to her daddy. She does smile at me, but I often find myself trying to gauge how much she smiles at me. Does she recognize me? Does she like me?
It’s silly, because I know that of course she loves me. I’m her food source. But obviously I want to be more than that for her. And I know I am. A few times now, she has been smiling and happy, only to suddenly become hysterical. She screams and cries for seemingly no reason, and despite everyone’s best efforts, the only one who can calm her down and make her happy is me. She seems to love the way I hold her, the way I talk to her, the way I smell, or whatever else it is that instantly makes her feel better.
It is an amazing feeling to be her safe place. It makes me feel so happy, so honored. This is a commitment for the rest of my life – I will always be her mommy, no matter how big she gets. I want to be there for her through anything and everything. When she falls and hurts herself, I’ll kiss it and make it better. When she falls in love and gets hurt, I’ll hug her and remind her how lovable she is. Whatever she faces in life, I will always be a part of her support system, I will always be there for her to help make sense of the world. It’s a huge responsibility, but one that makes me feel so good.
At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if she knows who I am yet. Does she have an emotional attachment to me, or is it purely a needs-based relationship for her? Does she know how to like or love me yet, or are those grins just a sign of entertainment and have little if anything to do with feelings? I guess I’m just looking forward to the day when she learns to say “mama” or learns to reach out her arms for a hug and I know that it really is me or Dean that she wants. Of course, I’m sure when that happens, it will bring with it a whole new host of challenges and worries.