In the history of Lizzie’s life, she’s never been one for physical interaction.  If it’s textural or gooey, she’s all over it, but if it involves being held, or touched for longer than 10 seconds, she wants no part of it.  I always attributed it to all the time in the hospital, and all the poking and prodding of tests.  I also attribute part of it to the nurse in the NICU who told me that holding my daughter was not something I should be doing, because her neck was not strong enough for her head.  And I shouldn’t touch her head.  I had been lightly stroking her forehead with one finger.  I realize now she was looking out for herself.  Hard to settle down an excitable baby when Mom leaves for the day.  UGH!  I never should have listened.  I remember being afraid to hold my own daughter.  I also remember that she liked being turned upside down as a toddler, but someone told me we shouldn’t do that either because it would hurt her.  If she liked it, how was it hurting her?  It wasn’t like we were hanging her upside down by her feet, we were just dipping her upside down and back.  She would giggle, she loved it.

Hugs for Lizzie are usually either given leaning over her crib rail while she is sitting, or hugging her in her wheelchair.  It’s always us hugging her. If you stay too long, she pushes you away.  If you hold her on your lap, she is constant movement, and the whole experience is maybe a half hour before she’s done with you.

Today, however, something amazing happened.  I was changing Lizzie’s diaper at bed time, and I had her bed railing half down.  I was standing leaning over the bed talking to her, when she got up on her knees, and scooted over to the railing.  Then she put her arms on mine, and started to pull herself up to stand.  I was shocked.  She’d never done this before while holding on to me.   When she got herself up, she leaned into me, and then just stood there.  After a few seconds, I realized what was happening.  Lizzie was giving me a hug!  I scooted closer to her, and hugged her back gently, and said, “Thank you for such a wonderful hug, Lizzie!”  And then she was done.  She lowered her butt back to the mattress, holding on to me the whole time.  I realized I had tears in my eyes.  What a beautiful gesture from my daughter.  I don’t need anything else for Valentine’s day this year, nothing could top that.