The first hug from my baby is not something I remember clearly, to be honest. I didn't write down the day in her baby book, like this: "April 23, 2012. She squeezed her little arms around my neck for the very first time, as I hugged her for the 687th time."
Maybe I should have....it's a significant occurrence, just like the first time my baby deliberately (and sloppily) kissed me back.
The first few months of being a new mom are months of unreciprocated love and affection. Sure, my baby stopped crying when I fed her and changed her bottle. She even smiled back at me after several weeks. But the constant kisses, hugs, and "I love you!" declarations were not returned to me for what seemed like forever.
Sometimes while I was feeding her and she lay across my lap, she would loop her arm around me. But it wasn't the same. I carried her all over the house, all around the park, snuggled her to my chest while I avoided chores with the best of them, but I was always holding onto her, securing her to my body, while she draped her arms wherever they wanted to go.
When she finally, deliberately, hugged me, with her little, squishy arms around my neck and I squeezed her back as close as I could without breaking any precious part of her, I felt the love she had for me, her mama. I felt her desire to hold me close as I had always held her close, and to not let go until she was ready. She was always ready before I was, and I waited impatiently for the next hug to squeeze her close. It made all of those unrequited shows of affection from me to her absolutely, completely, and without a doubt, worth it.