My little Sweet Potato is a lot of things: adorable, smart, sneaky, precocious, sweet, loving, verbal, funny, adorable, curious, strong-willed, loud, busy, did I mention adorable? She's all those things and much more. But one word that I would not typically use to characterize her is cuddly. She's always been way too busy and nosy to have time to be cuddly.
There were several times I got a little concerned about it. Was I bonding well enough with her? Does she love me? Am I doing something wrong? Will there be a wedge between us when she gets older? Geez, the ways we torture ourselves.
Anyway, I did what any good neurotic mother would do --- I googled it. Apparently, a "not-so affectionate 15 month old" isn't so unusual - especially with baby girls. Don't get me wrong - she'll kiss the stuffing out of you and she's very loving and even affectionate - just not cuddly. That is until this week.
What a delight (and surprise) to have her run to me throughout the day for hugs and cuddles and kisses and head on my shoulders and burying her head in my chest. When I'm standing in the kitchen, she'll wrap her little arms around one of my legs and sway back and forth and pat me. For someone who refused to say Momma for so long, and held out on all the squishy demonstrative behavior, she sure has turned a corner. And I'm savoring every minute of it.
I will say that in the months of wondering and longing and missing - I had a strong sense that God was whispering to me, "Unconditional love, Maria, do you know what that means?" Convicted, once again. If she never ever returned my love and affection, I am still called to love her with everything in my heart, not wishing she would be different - but loving her right where she is. I was reminded just how much I was like Gianna in my own relationship with God - and how much He just keeps loving me, constantly and faithfully and completely. I finally embraced that precious truth and the floodgates seemed to open. Another lesson in God's fidelity and graciousness. My heart is full. My lesson is learned. Now, to remember it every day - every hug - every cuddle.....even when I'm busy. Thank you, Lord, for my sweet Cuddle-Bear.
And speaking of bears,
This precious bear was given to me by my friend, Michelle, who also gave me that awesome dollhouse. How sweet is the antique dress and shoes?
And she also gave us this fantastic doll bed - again: hand-made by her mother.
And yes, a hand-made and hand-painted wooden doll with a hand-made dress. I mean, really, could she be any more creative?
How lucky for us that we get to play with all these wonderful toys - made with such love! Thank you Michelle, Jessie & Ms. JoAnn.