They don’t always love you back (by Tamara)
Our niece was only an infant when the pandemic started. Wanting to protect everyone, we quarantined within our own homes. That meant daily video chats with my sister’s family, who only live a few miles away. But it was painful to stay away, especially from the new baby.
After three months, when we all knew more about the virus, we decided to carefully “merge” our pods and started spending time together again.
To my dismay, our youngest family member was not impressed. Having no memory of anyone other than her parents and brother, she was particularly terrified of this new person who looked almost like her mom, but wasn’t; me.
I resolved to buy her love with little games of peek-a-boo, snacks, and showing her all the flowers in the garden. We soon became friends, and she was happy to let me hold her.
In our family, we never force children to give hugs. We try hard to teach them they have control over their bodies from a young age. Not that you can force a baby to give a hug anyway, but this little girl was a natural hugger.
It took a few more months before she offered me a spontaneous, vigorous hug all on her own. My heart melted. I still treasure every single hug. Her dad captured this surprise hug as we were getting a closer look at Christmas lights.
Like so many of our favorite photos, It’s blurry and grainy and without makeup. But to me, it’s beautiful.