Someone had rightly said: A baby's smile is the most precious thing in the world! The day when the whole labour room was lit up with my husband’s smiles as he held Tisya for the first time, when the hospital corridors were buzzing with the news of Tisya’s birth because it was my 17th day at the hospital and it had almost become my second home, when my mom, his mom, my aunt, his dad were all taking turns to get repeated glimpses of Tisya as we were still in the recovery room, and me-the mom, lay there on my bed happy but yearning for my coffee. I was happy but that’s it. I lay there not thinking about Tisya but wondering when would I be moved out of the recovery room, when would I be able to take off those tubes and take a shower.
The next day when I was moved to the ward I was so happy to be back with my folks. But then everyone was hovering around Tisya, almost fighting to change her diaper or swaddle her or soothe her whenever she cried and my husband was as if glued to her with a super magic glue. I lay there, pampered and taken care of but doing or feeling nothing special, just mechanically breastfeeding. I did wonder where was that sudden heavenly feeling of motherhood, that bonding, I really couldn’t feel it. I felt guilty.
Days passed by and this feeling or the lack of it continued. While my entire family was overzealously running around attending to every little need of Tisya I wasn’t doing much other than my breastfeeding. Every day I felt a little more guilty wondering why wasn’t I able to feel “that feeling.” I knew it wasn’t jealousy, it was more like she not being part of my life yet and I didn’t know why since I was her mom. I should’ve bonded with her the moment she was born or maybe even before that. I didn’t dare to discuss this with anyone at home lest they might feel I am talking foolishly.
Then somewhere in the second month, one day, as I was feeding Tisya like every day, she suddenly stopped and looked at me. She was staring straight into my eyes like she knew exactly what I was thinking and then in a fraction of a second gave out a wide, beautiful smile while continuing looking into my eyes. That moment everything changed and there was that instant connection, that bonding, that one nanosecond long conversation which brought me light years closer to this little one lying on my lap, that flash of a second. I will never forget her first smile. It was the most beautiful and there started our unending conversations. Conversations in several languages, a language of bubbles and drools, giggles and coos, howls and silences, words and songs and it goes on and will go on.
Why did I think if this today? Because today Tisya fell off a chair and bumped her head on the floor badly. She was crying uncontrollably as if she might vomit (which isn’t good). I was terrified. I ran inside for a glass of water. I felt utterly guilty and miserable for leaving Tisya unattended, even if it were for few minutes. As she drank the water, she suddenly stopped crying, looked at me into my eyes as if she understood my thoughts clearly. It was like she could read my eyes. Then she told me, “ Mumma! I am alright. I am sure I am alright.” But I was still stunned and then she hugged me tightly and said, “Mumma! Don’t you know mine is a magical hug? It is supposed to make you happy! Not little Happy but very very happy.” I looked at her and gave a wide, relieved smile and she said smiling, “see I told you!” And I was immediately reminded of her first smile.
I know that a baby’s first smile isn’t anything new and there would be millions and millions of such scenes every single day across the world. Nothing new. Then why getting mushy about it? But then to me, it was a first time and I totally loved it, that first smile that bonded us forever.
Isn’t life beautiful because of such precious moments which hold a special place in our hearts? It need not be an Oscar-winning moment but could be as little as the memory of a first gift or a first kiss or a first smile!
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