I stole a kiss from my baby this morning, buckling her in after a busy morning at preschool. Her skin is unbelievably soft, her thin and curly hair static filled from the ritual removing of the hat before a car ride. She is tired and hungry, already whining for chicken nuggets and applesauce and chocolate milk.
I stole a kiss on her cheek, pausing to inhale her sweetness that, in a year or two, with turn to the sweat of a big kid and will not be sweet any longer. Her hands are still dimpled; they will not be for long.
But, for today, she is my baby.
She holds still for the kiss, smile spreading clear into her eyes.
My serious infant turned into a clingy toddler. That toddler became a preschooler at some point after our big move, using big words and thinking big thoughts and wondering why bones are hard in some places and squishy in others. She wants to know, again, the story of her birth and how she was born in a rainstorm on a Tuesday morning. She grips a pencil so hard that I fear it will break and pierce her skin but her letters are becoming fluid and almost like cursive and, unlike most little girls, she will always choose orange over pink and finishes her work with a flourish and more than an ounce of pride.
I didn’t think twice about stealing a kiss. She’s free with the kisses and the cuddles, preferring to sit quietly on my lap than to run noisily through the house with her sister.
My baby isn’t a baby, of course. I’m not sure her daddy would recognize her now if she didn’t look so much like her mama. If she didn’t pick up on my mannerisms and way of speaking, I could still never deny she was all mine.
I stole a kiss from my baby this morning.