One day it sneaks up on you.
You’re watching your kids play (or fight), you’re straightening the bookshelf, you’re scraping yogurt off the sofa cushions–and you find yourself gazing at the baby.
She smiles at you.
She smiles and throws her head back and laughs then does that silly little dance, the one that starts with her pumping her left shoulder then moves through her arms and into her whole little body, before she squeals and waddles off atop plump little legs to torment the dog or poke at the VCR buttons.
And you realize you have fallen in love with her.
You have fallen in love with her just the same as you did with the first one. Just like everyone said. Just like everyone promised. Just like you wanted to so hard to believe during those nine miserable months, those sleepless postpartum days, those hazy, mixed-up early weeks when deep in your heart (you’d never say it out loud but) you didn’t think it was actually possible.
You thought for way too long that you were the one exception to the rule.
You thought you were the one mother would spend her life faking it, spend her life “remembering” to love them both.
You forgot that it takes time to know a person before you can truly love her with all your being.
Then one day you find yourself spontaneously snatching her off the ground mid-play to kiss her head, so filled are you with emotion. She swats you away and wriggles back down to the ground, and it hurts your heart just a teeny bit. Hurts in a sweet way. In a not altogether terrible way.
It sneaks up on you, that day that she’s no longer some eating-crying-excreting machine, some boring baby lump who just lies there expecting you to love her for nothing.
Now you love her for everything.
And she is loving you back.